The United States and Russia have agreed on a time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June and also invited China, U.S. Special Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea wrote on Twitter on Monday.
“Today agreed with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June. China also invited. Will China show and negotiate in good faith?” Billingslea wrote.
Today agreed with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June. China also invited. Will China show and negotiate in good faith?
— Ambassador Marshall S. Billingslea (@USArmsControl) June 8, 2020
“President Trump has charged this Administration with beginning a new chapter by seeking a new era of arms control that moves beyond the bilateral treaties of the past,” the State Department said in a statement on April 10.
“Chinese officials now openly speak of ‘national rejuvenation’ objectives that include the ‘Strong Military Dream’ of ensuring that Beijing’s armed forces acquire world-class capabilities superior to those of anyone else on the planet by 2049,” wrote Assistant State Secretary Dr. Christopher Ford in his May 20 paper.
“Today, the PRC is engaged in a gigantic, full-spectrum military build-up that … will also involve at least doubling the size of Beijing’s nuclear arsenal during the next decade,” Ford wrote.
The only U.S.–Russia nuclear arms control agreement still standing and binding the two countries is the New START Treaty, which was signed in 2010 and is set to expire in February 2021.
The New START Treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear weapons that each country can deploy to “1,550 warheads on 700 missiles and heavy bombers,” according to the Arms Control Association website.
According to data exchanged on March 1, “The United States deployed 1,372 warheads on 655 missiles and heavy bombers. Russia deployed 1,326 warheads on 485 delivery systems,” the website said, indicating both participating states are compliant with the Treaty.
The treaty also allows both the United States and Russia to conduct on-site inspections, according to the website.
Other Arms Control Treaties
In August 2019, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia because it failed to comply with the treaty, including failing to comply with requests to destroy its 9M729 ballistic missiles.
U.S. officials started to raise concerns about Russia’s noncompliance with the treaty in 2013.
Both the United States and Russia suspended their obligations under the INF Treaty in February after months of failed talks and years of attempts by Washington to bring Moscow into compliance with the landmark arms pact.
After the formal withdrawal from the INF Treaty, the United States started testing a medium-range ground-launched cruise missile that would have been banned under the treaty.
The United States recently submitted a notice to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, citing Russia’s violations of the treaty, according to a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The treaty permits its participants to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over the other’s territories.
“Should Russia return to full compliance with the treaty,” the United States will reconsider its participation in the Open Skies, the statement said.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced on June 2 two new bills aimed to constrain both Russia and China in their efforts to develop and modernize their strategic nuclear arsenals.
“Without a firm foundation that constrains our adversaries’ nuclear arsenals, the United States may once again find itself in a costly arms race with little opportunity to reduce nuclear risks with both Russia and China,” Menendez said.
The first bill, Future of Arms Control Act calls for the immediate extension of New START and prevents the president from taking any action against the treaty if no decision is made on its extension, Menendez said in the statement.
The second bill, the Arms Control with China Policy Act, mandates secretaries of state and defense to present to Congress a report on methods to engage China on arms control.
Reuters contributed to this report.