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China turns down nuclear arms control talks with US and Russia

China turns down nuclear arms control talks with US and Russia
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China has doubled down on its stance that it won't engage in nuclear talks with the U.S. and Russia, reiterating that it has made its position on the matter "very clear."

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, said Friday that the U.S.'s offer to join the talks with Russia was "neither serious nor sincere."

“China’s objection to the so-called trilateral arms control negotiations is very clear, and the U.S. knows it very well. However, the U.S. is persistent on the issue and even distorted China’s position,” Zhao told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

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The U.S. and Russia — former Cold War foes and still the world's largest nuclear powers — met in Vienna at the end of last month to begin work on extending the New START treaty that was agreed upon in 2010 and is slated to expire in February.

New START sets several terms, including limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads the U.S. and Russia can have at 1,550 apiece and regulating the deployment of weapons that can launch the warheads. The agreement also creates a verification program that features 18 on-site inspections per year.

The Trump administration has been pushing for China, which has the third largest amount of nuclear warheads behind the U.S. and Russia, to join the treaty, but Beijing has been steadfast in its opposition.