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Iran Press TV

Trump tells Putin hopes to avoid US-Russia-China arms race

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 23 July 2020 9:04 PM

US President Donald Trump has expressed hope that he will avoid an "expensive" US arms race with Russia and China.

This comes as Washington and Moscow are preparing negotiations on a successor to the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) capping their countries' nuclear arsenals.

However, China has so far refused to join the talks despite pressure from the Trump administration, maintaining that its arsenal is far smaller than that of the US and Russia, the two former Cold War adversaries.

Trump held a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday, discussing "critical bilateral and global issues," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.

"President Trump reiterated his hope of avoiding an expensive three-way arms race between China, Russia, and the United States and looked forward to progress on upcoming arms control negotiations in Vienna," Deere added.

The START accord is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington that puts a limit on the development and deployment of strategic nuclear warheads of both countries.

Back in July 1991, the START which later was called the START I, was signed by then US president George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, barring both countries from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and bombers.

In January 1993, President Bush and Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian president, signed START II, but it collapsed and never entered into effect.

The START I treaty expired in late 2009 and its replacement, called the New START or START III, was signed in April 2010 by former US president Barack Obama and then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, under which both sides agreed to halve the number of strategic nuclear missiles and restrict the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550.

The New START can be extended for another five years, beyond its expiry date in February 2021, by mutual agreement.

Trump and Putin also discussed ways to fight the coronavirus pandemic which has taken heavy tolls in both countries and elsewhere around the world.

"President Trump and President Putin discussed efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic while continuing to reopen global economies," Deere noted.

While the virus has infected over 4,153,100 and killed more than 147,000 in the US, over 795,000 have tested positive in Russia and nearly 12,900 have died there so far.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has said the two leaders confirmed the "urgency" of holding the talks on "strategic stability and arms control."

The two presidents also discussed "the situation around the Iranian nuclear program," underlining the "need for collective action," the Kremlin statement continued.

Trump pulled his country out of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018 and reinstated unilateral sanctions against Tehran in defiance of international outcry and in violation of international law.

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