MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) won’t be extended and a new multilateral arms control system needs to be established in its place, Deputy Director of the Institute for US and Canadian Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Pavel Zolotarev said during an online conference dubbed US Nuclear Ambitions: from Truman to Trump.
According to the expert, although Washington seeks to play the Russian threat card, it is China that US views as its opponent and rival. "China causes them concern because according to their estimates, China’s stocks of weapons-grade nuclear materials, particularly weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium, makes it possible for Beijing to double its nuclear potential," Zolotarev noted.
In his view, Washington continues to work with Russia on arms control issues not because it wants to maintain the current system but because it wants to take advantage of Russia’s influence to engage China in discussions. "It is pointless to talk about involving China in the nuclear arms reduction process. It is more reasonable to raise the possibility of engaging all nuclear countries. When signing New START, Russia emphasized the need for a multilateral conversation, at least with the members of the Nuclear Five," the expert stressed.
There is too little time left before New START expires so the treaty is unlikely to be extended, the expert emphasized. According to him, chances are high that New START will cease to exist and Moscow and Washington will start to work together on a new agreement, trying to engage the Nuclear Five.