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China may use Ukrainian events to derive n-arms control benefits — expert

May 15, 2014, 20:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, May 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Today’s China is the sole power that has derived certain benefits from the crisis in Ukraine, and it may use the current situation to gain nuclear arms control advantages, the head of the Non-Proliferation Problems program at Moscow’s Carnegie Centre, Alexei Arbatov, has said at a seminar in Moscow on Thursday.

“The current crisis in Ukraine, which is part of the crisis between Russia and the West, has caused great harm to all parties, but there is one power that has made heavy gains. It is China, of course. That country has taken the niche Russia has contested all along from time immemorial: that of a mediator between the East and the West,” Arbatov said.

He believes that China has taken a position that is most beneficial of all in the current situation.

“A country that has better relations with other centers of power than the relations between those centres can feel free to play its own game, negotiate concessions and secure tremendous advantages. This applies to the sphere of nuclear disarmament,” Arbatov said.

The analyst argues that number one problem for nuclear arms control is China, and not “Britain or France, which have been reducing their nuclear potentials and are absolutely transparent, and which would be unable to build them up considerably in the foreseeable future even if they had had such an intention.”

“India and Pakistan are basically short-circuited to each other and their nuclear forces are rather limited by world standards. As for North Korea and Israel, their nuclear arms are rather an element of relations, and this issue belongs with the realm of non-proliferation than the problem of nuclear arms control.

Arbatov did not rule out that China might join in the process of nuclear arms control.

“I am referring not to Russian-US talks, but to the process of nuclear arms control as such,” Arbatov explained. He believes that Washington would be the best mediator in negotiations with Beijing on that score.

“Allies never conduct negotiations of the sort. There have been no such negotiations between the United States and Britain, for instance,” Arbatov said. In his opinion Russia and India would do a far worse job (of a mediator) in that capacity.

“Russia and China are more than just allies today,” he added.

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