China ‘happy’ to join nuclear talks if US cuts arsenal to matching level

China reveals its most advanced nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-41, at the National Day parade in Beijing on October 1, 2019. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, Jul 8, 2020, Reuters. A senior Chinese diplomat has challenged the US to cut its nuclear arsenal to China’s level, in response to repeated calls from Washington to join arms control talks between the United States and Russia, South China Morning Post reported.

Fu Cong, head of the foreign ministry’s arms control department, reiterated China’s stance to reporters in Beijing on Wednesday, that China had no interest in joining the negotiations, given the US nuclear arsenal was about 20 times the size of China’s.

Washington has repeatedly called for China to join in trilateral negotiations to extend New START, a flagship nuclear arms treaty between the US and Russia that is due to expire in February next year.

“I can assure you, if the US says that they are ready to come down to the Chinese level, China would be happy to participate the next day,” Fu said. “But actually, we know that’s not going to happen.”

Fu asserted that, for the United States, asking China to participate in trilateral negotiations was “nothing but a ploy to divert attention” and an excuse for the US to walk away from the New START extension.

“The real purpose is to get rid of all restrictions and have a free hand in seeking military superiority over any adversary, real or imagined,” Fu said.

Fu maintained China was not “shying away from the international nuclear disarmament process” and was prepared to discuss within the framework of the UN Security Council’s five permanent members all issues related to the reduction of nuclear risks.

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