Russia to open nuclear disarmament talks with US amid China cloud

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Jun 10, 2020, 07:07 AM(IST)

Putin, Trump and Jinping Photograph:( Agencies )

Story highlights

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will meet in Vienna on June 22 with US envoy Marshall Billingslea to start negotiations on New START, which expires in February.

Russia has confirmed that it will open talks with the US this month on extending a major nuclear disarmament treaty but warned that Washington’s insistence on including China could scuttle efforts.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will meet in Vienna on June 22 with US envoy Marshall Billingslea to start negotiations on New START, which expires in February.

President Donald Trump has walked out on a number of international agreements but voiced a general interest in preserving New START, which obliged the United States and Russia to halve their inventories of strategic nuclear missile launchers.

Also read: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo slams Trump for his remarks on protester

But the Trump administration says that a successor to New START, a Cold War legacy negotiated under Barack Obama, should bring in China -- whose nuclear arsenal is growing but remains significantly smaller than those of Russia and the United States.

Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations by videoconference, Ryabkov described the US willingness to start negotiations as "good news" but said: "The ball is on the American part of the court."

"We need to hear loudly and clearly what this administration wants, how it believes it would be possible to do something positive and not just to dismantle one arms control treaty or arrangement after another."

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had "no intention of participating" in the talks and accused the United States of trying to "deflect responsibilities to others."

Ryabkov indicated that Russia did not oppose the US invitation to China -- an international ally of Moscow despite a complicated historical relationship -- but doubted Beijing would agree.

"My answer to a direct question on whether or not we think it would be possible to bring China to the table would be a flat and straightforward no," Ryabkov said.

"Now it depends on the US -- if the US believes it's worth continuing this dialogue with Russia or, for the US point of view, the Chinese participation is an absolute imperative that precludes (the) US from continuing a meaningful and forward-looking dialogue with Russia on arms control," he said.

 

Read in App