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US open to nuclear agreement with Russia before including China

US open to nuclear agreement with Russia before including China

Top arms envoy indicates shift in Washington’s position on trilateral talks, Nikkei Asian Review, RYO NAKAMURA, Nikkei staff writerAugust 16, 2020 
WASHINGTON — The U.S. may move forward with a nuclear agreement with Russia first in a bid to apply pressure on Beijing to sign a weapons treaty, Washington’s top arms control negotiator said, despite characterizing China as an “urgent threat.”

Marshall Billingslea, the special presidential envoy for arms control, spoke with Nikkei days before traveling to Vienna to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday and Tuesday for discussions on brokering an accord. Washington had been keen to strike a trilateral agreement with Moscow and Beijing, but is now open to a bilateral agreement with Russia first.

“That is, I think, a very prudent approach, particularly because we may be able to agree to something with Russia that would be the framework which we would want China to join,” Billingslea said in a phone interview on Friday.

The Vienna meeting, which Washington also invited China to, will focus on a successor to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. That accord, also known as New START, was signed in 2010 and expires in February. In addition to nuclear warheads, the treaty limits the deployment of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

The Trump administration has sought a new treaty with three conditions: it includes China, adds restrictions on all types of nuclear weapons and strengthens and verification.

The U.S. has been particularly adamant about Beijing’s participation, but China has so far refused…….. https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/Interview/US-open-to-nuclear-agreement-with-Russia-before-including-China

August 17, 2020 - Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war

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