Russian, US Envoys Discuss Nuclear Arms Treaty in Vienna

June 23, 2020 Updated: June 23, 2020

Russia’s deputy foreign minister and the U.S. special presidential envoy for arms control on Monday discussed global security issues, and the extension of the START nuclear arms control treaty in particular, the Russian foreign ministry said.

Sergey Ryabkov and Marshall Billingslea, at talks in Vienna, also discussed the issues of sustaining stability and predictability in the conditions after the end of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the Russian ministry said on its website.

Epoch Times Photo
Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and his delegation arrive for a meeting with U.S. special envoy Marshall Billingslea in Vienna, Austria, on June 22, 2020. (Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

The U.S. State Department has said Billingslea will be in Vienna for the talks on Monday and Tuesday.

New START imposes the last remaining limits on U.S. and Russian deployments of strategic nuclear arms to no more than 1,550 each. It can be extended for up to five years if both sides agree to.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for China to join the United States and Russia in talks on an agreement to replace New START.

China, estimated to have about 300 nuclear weapons, has repeatedly rejected Trump’s proposal.

“China is a no-show,” Billingslea said on Twitter around the time he arrived for the talks in a palace adjoining Austria’s Foreign Ministry.

“Beijing still hiding behind #GreatWallofSecrecy on its crash nuclear build-up, and so many other things. We will proceed with #Russia, notwithstanding,” he added.

Reuters reporters at the palace did not see any Chinese officials.