China urges US to reduce nuclear arsenal

China urges US to reduce nuclear arsenal

Chinese officials said Wednesday that the country would gladly join trilateral nuclear negotiations with Russia and the U.S., provided that the U.S. is willing to reduce its nuclear arsenal to the scale of China's.

Russia and the U.S. began a new round of nuclear talks over the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) last month, with the Trump administration's top arms control official tweeting at the time: "China also invited. Will China show and negotiate in good faith?"

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A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry called the U.S. invitation to join nuclear talks with the Trump administration and Russia “nothing but a ploy to divert attention” from the U.S.'s alleged goal of walking away from new nuclear talks with Russia, according to Reuters.  

“I can assure you, if the U.S. says that they are ready to come down to the Chinese level, China would be happy to participate the next day,” said Fu Cong, head of arms control for China's foreign ministry, according to Reuters. “But actually, we know that’s not going to happen.”

“The [U.S.'s] real purpose is to get rid of all restrictions and have a free hand in seeking military superiority over any adversary, real or imagined,” he added. 

New START, negotiated under the Obama administration, caps the number of nuclear warheads each country can deploy at 1,550 apiece. The deal is set to expire in February.

The comments from China also come one day after the the Trump administration officially pulled the United States out of the World Health Organization (WHO). President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE has repeatedly accused the global health body of favoring China, and attacked the organization for its alleged slow response to the coronavirus. 

Critics of the WHO and China claim that the global coronavirus response was hindered because of China's lack of transparency in the early stages of the outbreak.