WASHINGTON, June 8. /TASS/. US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said on Monday he has agreed with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to have talks on nuclear weapons later in the month. China has been invited.
"Today agreed with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June," he wrote on his Twitter account. "China also invited. Will China show and negotiate in good faith?"
Today agreed with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June. China also invited. Will China show and negotiate in good faith?— Ambassador Marshall S. Billingslea (@USArmsControl) June 8, 2020
Bloomberg said earlier on Monday citing an unnamed Department of State official that Ryabkov and Billingslea would have talks in Vienna on June 22. According to the agency, Washington does not rule out that the extension of the New START Treaty would be among the topics.
The official reportedly said that Washington was not ready to discuss possible terms for the treaty extension.
In an interview with the Bolshaya Igra (Big Game) program on Russia’s TV Channel One, Ryabkov said that the Trump administration was obsessed with China and was seeking to raise this topic whenever international topics were discussed. According to the Russian senior diplomat, the United States’ rhetoric about involving China into the New START Treaty stems more from its policy towards China rather than from considerations of security.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on May 19 that Russian and the United States were planning to organize a videoconference on matters of strategic stability. He said he had agreed with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to establish contacts between US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Ryabkov told TASS on May 11 that Russia offered the United States to extend the New START Treaty for a term of five years to use this time to elaborate a new mechanism.
The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers.
The New START Treaty will remain in force for 10 years, until 2021, unless it is replaced before that date by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. It can also be extended for no longer than 5 years (that is, until 2026) by the parties’ mutual consent.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay prolongation of the treaty it describes as the gold standards in the area of disarmament.