WASHINGTON DC (Age-ncies): U.S. disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood said on Tuesday that China is resisting nuclear talks.
“Despite the PRC’s dramatic build-up of its nuclear arsenal, unfortunately it continues to resist discussing nuclear risk reduction bilaterally with the United States,” Woods told a United Nations conference, Reuters reports.
“To date Beijing has not been willing to engage meaningfully or establish expert discussions similar to those we have with Russia,” Woods added. “We sincerely hope that will change.”
Reuters notes that Russia and the United States had earlier this year agreed to extend the New START arms control treaty for five more years.
“The New START Tre-aty’s verification regime e-nables us to monitor Ru-ssian compliance with the treaty and provides us with greater insight into Russia’s nuclear posture, including through data exchanges and onsite inspections that all-ow U.S. inspectors to have eyes on Russian nuclear forces and facilities,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the time.
In an apparent rebuttal, China’s envoy later told the same virtual U.N. meeting that Beijing was prepared for dialogue.
“We stand ready to carry out positive dialogue and exchange with all parties to jointly explore effective measures to reduce nuclear risk and to contribute to global strategic security,” Ji Zhaoyu said.
The exchange came at a discussion on the Prevention of Nuclear War at the 65-member U.N. Conference on Disarmament based in Geneva. The body, which makes decisions by consensus, has not reached a major agreement in decades but is often the theatre for tense rhetorical exchanges between superpowers.
The head of U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Charles Richard, said during a congressional hearing last month that both Russia and China were modernizing their nuclear weapons at a faster rate than the U.S., as CNN reported.
According to Richard, Russia’s nuclear capability development is “80 percent complete while we are at zero.”
“It is easier to describe what they are not modernizing — nothing — than what they are, which is pretty much everything,” he added.
During his testimony, Richard also stated that although China’s nuclear arsenal is significantly smaller than that of the U.S., it is quickly expanding. China is believed to have about 320 warheads, compared to the more than 1,500 that both Russia and the U.S. have deployed.