Trump expects to discuss 'meaningful halt' to 'arms race' with Putin, Xi

Trump expects to discuss 'meaningful halt' to 'arms race' with Putin, Xi
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE on Monday said that he expects he will eventually discuss a "meaningful halt" to the arms race with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting the more than $700 billion set aside for the U.S. military for fiscal 2019.

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"I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race," Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president called it "crazy" that the U.S. spent $716 billion on the military in the most recent budget.

 

Trump regularly boasted while campaigning for midterm Republican candidates that his administration had helped spur significant financial investment in the military.

Monday's tweet comes on the heels of a meeting with Xi at the Group of 20 Summit in Argentina, where the two leaders said they reached a breakthrough on trade negotiations. The two countries also discussed the push to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal.

The president has previously shown an interest in discussing the arms race with the leaders of China and Russia, in particular.

Prior to a July meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump said he viewed halting the existence of nuclear weapons as "the ultimate" deal.

However, the president drew criticism from some international allies and U.S. lawmakers in October when he announced the U.S. would no longer be part of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was established during the Reagan administration.

The agreement prevents the U.S. and Russia from possessing or testing ground-based missiles with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles. 

The Kremlin said last week that Trump and Putin were expected to discuss nuclear arms control at the G-20, but Trump canceled their meeting in the wake of Russian aggression toward Ukraine. The two leaders instead spoke informally.