Russia and the United States invited China to join the upcoming round of talks on control of nuclear weapons, although Beijing does not want to participate.
The South China Morning Post, June 9, 2020 quoted a senior US official as saying that China had just been invited to attend the upcoming round of nuclear talks between the US and Russia, although Beijing continued to assert no want to join.
“Today agreed with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June. China also invited. Will China show and negotiate in good faith?”, Special envoy for nuclear talks Marshall Billingslea of US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.
The announcement was made in the context that the New START Treaty will expire in 2021. The New START Treaty was signed in 2010 with a roadmap to reduce nuclear weapons within 7 years from February 2011. Accordingly, as of February 2017, each party is only allowed to own a maximum of 800 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched missiles and strategic bombers.
Meanwhile, the number of nuclear warheads on each side is 1,550. The two sides must also exchange information on the possession of nuclear weapons.
The Russian side said any upcoming negotiations with the US should focus on this deal. Meanwhile, the US has been open about extending the agreement but at the same time stressed that China should join.
Last month, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Beijing had no intention of participating in any three-party talks on arms control. Russia and the United States estimate that each country has thousands of nuclear weapons. China is believed to be ranked third with about 300 nuclear weapons.
Mr Billingslea earlier warned that China should join the talks because it was developing “secret, unrestricted” nuclear weapons. Bloomberg reported that the negotiation will take place on June 22, 2020 in Austria.