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Russia, US should play leading role in nuclear disarmament — Chinese ambassador

"China has a very small amount of nuclear weapons," Cui Tiankai said.

NEW YORK, August 5. /TASS/. The Chinese government believes that the leading role in the nuclear disarmament should be played by Moscow and Washington, but not Beijing, because China’s nuclear arsenal is noticeably smaller, Chinese Ambassador to US Cui Tiankai told the annual Aspen Security Forum.

The diplomat was asked whether China was interested in signing any arms control deals with the participation of Moscow and Washington.

"I think that there are now very important negotiations between the US and Russia concerning the existing treaties between those countries. And these treaties are extremely important for international strategic stability. We hope those treaties would continue," the Chinese diplomat said. "We could have reasons to be optimistic, but I don’t know."

In his words, the Chinese side hopes that Moscow and Washington would "continue those treaties and keep the international strategic stability."

"The United States and Russia have the largest nuclear arsenal. This is known by everybody. There is international consensus. So they should take the lead in international nuclear disarmament," Cui Tiankai said. "China has a very small amount of nuclear weapons. It’s not at the same level. We are <…> behind US and Russia."

He said that one of his colleagues earlier asked whether the United States was ready to reduce its current nuclear stockpile to the size of the Chinese one as a precondition for launching the negotiations.

"I hope we could receive a very convincing answer," the Chinese ambassador said.

US President Donald Trump said in response to a TASS question on November 4, 2019, that the United States would like to make a new arms control agreement with Russia and China, and maybe some other countries. A US Department of State official said later that despite Beijing’s refusal to take part in arms control talks, Washington was interested in launching a strategic security dialogue with China that would be similar to its dialogue with Russia.

New START, which came into force in 2011, limits Russia and the US to no more than 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, no more than 1,550 deployed warheads and 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers. The Treaty is set to remain in effect for ten years (until 2021) unless a new document is signed to replace it. The document can also be extended for no more than five years (that is, until 2026) by mutual agreement of the parties.