US and Russian officials are to meet in Geneva this week to hold talks over strategic security and arms control as reported earlier. White House officials said Monday that another topic to be discussed at the meeting is a new possible three-way nuclear weapons pact between the US, Russia and China, reported the Associated Press.
The only active arms-control treaty between the US and Russia, New START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty], is to expire in two years time. Under the New START both the US and Russia are allowed to have no more than 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. While considering the extension of the existing treaty, the US Administration is also taking into account a possibility of developing a new international agreement, the trilateral one.
Currently China, which has and is consistently updating its nuclear weapons, has many weapon-limiting agreements signed, yet none which would limit its nuclear arsenal.
Arms Control Association director Daryl Kimball claimed that there was no way signing an agreement with China before the 2021, when the New START expires. “It would malpractice to discard New START in the hopes of negotiating a more comprehensive, ambitious nuclear arms control agreement with Russia and China and getting it ratified and into force,” he said.
Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan is the one to lead the American delegation and the Russian side is to be represented by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Earlier Ryabkov said that Russia is interested in extension of the existing treaty.
“Under all circumstances, we are interested in extension of the New START as much as our counterpart is. If they refuse to extend it, it won’t become a tragedy for us as the country’s defense capability is sufficient,” he stated.
The talks on arms control between the US in Russia are to be held not longer after Russia and thee US both started the process or withdrawal from a separate nuclear arms treaty, INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty]. The US accused Russia of violating the conditions of the treaty, yet Moscow denied all the accusations.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website