China announced on Monday that it was not interested in joining Russia-U.S. talks on nuclear disarmament.
China's unwillingness to negotiate the possibility of joining the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was one of the main reasons of Washington's withdrawal from the agreement as U.S. President Donald Trump said his country was ready to preserve the agreement on the condition of Beijing's participation.
Speaking at a news conference in Sochi following a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China did not consider joining the talks to be a necessity.
He added that it kept its nuclear arsenals at a minimum level "commensurate to its defense policy needs", especially as the situation on the Korean Peninsula remained "uncertain".
Commenting on another major arms controls deal, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), Sergey Lavrov said he would discuss its extension with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the meeting slated for May 14 in Sochi.
He said the Iran nuclear deal and Iranian nuclear program would be another topic on the meeting's agenda.
"Tomorrow, we will try to clarify the Americans' plan to overcome this crisis [surrounding the Iran nuclear deal] which was the result of their unilateral decisions. I look forward to a frank conversation with my colleague," he said.
Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations comprising of the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.
Shortly afterward, Washington re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s energy and banking sectors. Both Lavrov and Wang slammed the U.S. economic sanctions, saying both countries did not accept the attempts to "act in circumvent of the World Trade Organization rules".
They also stressed that Russia and China share a position on non-interference in Venezuelan internal affairs.
By Elena Teslova in Moscow