Politics, World

US says working with Russia on arms reduction, but China stays away from bilateral talks

US ambassador to UN Conference on Disarmament says China continues to resist discussing nuclear risk reduction bilaterally

Peter Kenny   | 18.05.2021
US says working with Russia on arms reduction, but China stays away from bilateral talks

GENEVA

The US has worked with Russia to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for five years, but China does not want to engage in bilateral talks, Washington's ambassador to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva said Tuesday.

US Ambassador Robert Wood spoke to the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) on the theme Prevention of Nuclear War, Including All Related Matters: Nuclear Risk Reduction.

"Risk reduction is an essential and necessary part of advancing disarmament efforts," said Wood.

He said the experience of the US and Russia should not be the only risk reduction template examined, "but it is the most robust one."

Wood said the US has with Russia "working hotlines, de-confliction working groups, expert-level discussions on nuclear postures and strategic security, and a whole series of confidence-building measures in the form of agreements on missile launches."

"These included other potentially dangerous activities, including incidents at sea." He said that collectively, these agreements and arrangements help to make nuclear conflict much more remote.

"As you all know, the United States worked with Russia to extend the New START Treaty for an additional five years.


‘Reinvigorate bilateral dialogue’

"We believe the most immediate next priority to reduce nuclear risks further is to reinvigorate bilateral dialogues with our strategic competitors.”

So the US is pleased that President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to begin a dialogue on Strategic Stability, Wood also said.

"We wish the story were similar for China," he noted, adding: "Despite the PRC's [People's Republic of China's] dramatic build-up of its nuclear arsenal, unfortunately, it continues to resist discussing nuclear risk reduction bilaterally with the United States."

Wood stressed that the US would continue to seek complete bilateral exchanges on nuclear doctrines, proposed missile launch notification agreements, and more robust crisis communication channels.

"To date, Beijing has not been willing to engage meaningfully or establish expert discussions similar to those we have with Russia. We sincerely hope that will change."

Zhaoyu Ji, the Chinese envoy, told the CD: “China believes that in this new international strategic security situation, nuclear risk reduction should be an important issue that deserves all parties' attention and earnest efforts to seek a solution.”

He added: “We stand ready to carry out positive dialogue and exchange with all parties to jointly explore the effective measures to reduce nuclear risk and to contribute to the global strategic security.”

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