Russia Suggests US Extend New START for 5 Years or Less - Deputy Foreign Minister
BEIJING (Sputnik) - Russia has suggested that the United States extend the New START treaty for five years or for a shorter period if desired, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday.
"We proposed to the United States extending the contract for a five-year term provided for in it, or, if for some reasons it is uncomfortable for the American side, then for a shorter period, which would probably not be an optimal signal, including for the international community, waiting for convincing confirmation from Moscow and Washington of adherence to arms control. At least it's better than nothing," Ryabkov said after consultations with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu.
The Russian deputy foreign minister stressed that the United Kingdom and France should be also included in the nuclear disarmament dialogue.
"[The UK and French nuclear arsenals] are de facto viewed together with the US one and are subject to [Russian] analysis and military planning, that is why [including France and the UK in the dialogue] is in line with our basic position," Ryabkov added.
China Expects Positive Response From US to Russia's Call
China hopes that the United States will respond positively to Russia's proposal on extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for five years, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said on Wednesday.
"The extension of the New START treaty is the entire international community's common desire. If the treaty is successfully extended, this will have a positive impact on the international process of nuclear disarmament and ensuring global strategic stability. Therefore, we hope that the US will respond positively as soon as possible to the country's [Russia's] position [on the treaty]," he said.
New is the last remaining arms control treaty in force between Russia and the United States. Signed in 2010, the pact stipulates that the number of strategic nuclear missiles launchers must be cut by half and limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550.
US officials have expressed interest in negotiating a new arms control agreement with Russia that could include China but Beijing expressed its opposition to this idea.
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