China has ‘no intention to participate’ in arms talks

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China said Wednesday it has “no intention to participate” in trilateral arms control negotiations, a day after Washington called on Beijing to join its nuclear arms talks with Moscow.

The United States has held two rounds of talks with Russia, aimed at reducing misunderstandings around critical security issues since the collapse of a Cold War nuclear pact last year – which triggered fears of a new arms race.

Washington has hinted that Beijing should also join the discussions.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused the US of using Chinese involvement as “a pretext to shirk and shift its own nuclear disarmament responsibilities”.

“China has no intention to participate in the so-called China-US-Russia trilateral arms controls negotiations,” Geng said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

Washington has warned about a lack of transparency around China’s growing nuclear arsenal, and US President Donald Trump has insisted that any new disarmament pact would need China to come on board.

Geng said that “the country with the largest and most advanced weapons arsenal in the world should earnestly fulfil its special responsibilities for nuclear disarmament”, referring to the US.

According to US Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva Robert Wood on Tuesday, China’s nuclear stockpile is expected to double over the next decade.

“We have to deal with this serious threat to strategic stability, which is the lack of transparency around China’s nuclear stockpile enhancement,” he said.

Washington and Moscow walked away from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty in August last year, after each accused the other of violating the terms of the deal.

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