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New START: US ready for arms control talks with Russia, China if they meet its criteria

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The United States is ready to participate in arms control talks with Moscow and Beijing, if they meet Washington's criteria, a US Department of State spokesperson said Friday. TASS reported.

"The President has directed us to think more broadly than New START and include both China and Russia in our next steps. We stand ready to engage with both Russia and China on arms control negotiations that meet our criteria," the US Department of State spokesperson said.

"The United States remains committed to effective arms control that advances U.S., Allied, and partner security, is verifiable and enforceable, and includes partners that comply responsibly with their obligations," the spokesperson added.

"The Administration is evaluating the possibility of an extension of the New START Treaty, taking into account the threats we face today, the changing security environment, and Russia’s statement that it has no preconditions to extension," the spokesperson said.

Another US Department of State spokesperson said that Washington earlier sent an official invitation to Beijing to engage in a strategic dialogue on security issues, while the latest round of consultations with Russia on the matter took place in January.

"The United States held the most recent meeting of the Strategic Security Dialogue in January 2020 with Russia. We proposed one to China, which has not yet accepted," the spokesperson said.

All those statements were made in response to a request to comment on latest remarks by Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev. 

In his op-ed for TASS, Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow had repeatedly called on extension of the New START treaty to 2021, but the American side "keeps coming up with new obstacles." It seems that Washington is trying "to indulge in endless back-and-forth dialogue and torpedo the prolongation of this document, which is extremely important for maintaining strategic stability in the world," Medvedev said.

In his opinion, "the position of the US Department of State on China’s hypothetical accession to New START and on applying the Treaty in its current form to the newest Russian weapons looks utterly unrealistic.

New START Treaty

On April 8, 2010, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and US President Barack Obama signed the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) following negotiations in Prague, another document on limiting nuclear arsenals, the prospects for which were discussed back in 1997. 

The document called for the reduction of up to 1,550 nuclear warheads, up to 700 units of intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missiles, submarines and heavy bombers. The document entered into force on February 5, 2011, and on February 5, 2018, the parties announced the fulfillment of their obligations.

Currently, the sides are looking into the treaty’s fate. New START will remain in force until 2021, unless replaced with another agreement sooner. It can also be extended, but only for 5 years (until 2026). 

Of late, Moscow has repeatedly urged Washington to stop dragging its feet on the deal’s extension, calling it a "golden standard" in arms reduction.


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