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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

US ready to spend Russia, China 'into oblivion' to win nukes race: US envoy

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 21 May 2020 8:56 PM

The United States is ready to spend Russia and China "into oblivion" in order to be able to win a new nuclear arms race, President Donald Trump's arms control negotiator says.

"The president has made clear that we have a tried and true practice here. We know how to win these races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion. If we have to, we will, but we sure would like to avoid it," Special Presidential Envoy Marshall Billingslea said in an online presentation to a Washington think tank.

Billingslea plans to meet with his Russian counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in the near future to discuss a new US proposal for an important accord to limit all Russian, Chinese and US nuclear warheads, according to US officials.

The event will mark the first time the Trump administration has opened talks on a deal to replace the New START nuclear arms control treaty.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty accord, which expires in February 2021, is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington that puts a limit on the number of strategic nuclear warheads each of the countries can have.

Billingslea went on to say that the US seeks to destroy all its nuclear warheads for ground theater-range systems, adding Washington sees no distinction between tactical and strategic non-conventional weaponry.

He also urged Russia to "adhere to the pledged reductions in theater-range systems, including elimination of all its nuclear warheads for ground-based tactical systems."

The US and Russia signed the the New START accord in 2010 and agreed to reduce the number of strategic nuclear missiles by half and restrict the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550.

China is not part of the existing deal, but back in December, John Rood, the US undersecretary of defense for policy, said that Trump was after a deal that would include both Moscow and Beijing.

"Russia must help bring China to the negotiating table," Billingslea said Thursday. "Both Russia and the United States share this interest."

China, he warned, is "in the midst of a sizable buildup," claiming that "Beijing has stubbornly refused to share any significant information about its plans, capabilities and intentions regarding its move to a triad of delivery vehicles, a launch-on-warning posture, and exploration of low-yield nuclear weapons."

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