Tuesday, the U.S. and Russia ended two days of arms control negotiations with both sides firmly at odds with the U.S. demand to include China in any new treaty but showing signs of a possible willingness to extend the current New START agreement that expires next year. US negotiator Marshall Billingslea told reporters after the Vienna talks ended that “there are some areas of convergence between Russia and the United States, but on a range of key issues we remain far apart.”
The US argues that any new treaty to restrict nuclear weapons should include all forms of warheads, have improved procedures for verification and accountability controls, and be expanded to include China, which has been growing its own arsenal. China dismissed the proposal as an American attempt to prevent a new agreement and said it would be willing to participate if the U.S. were to commit to nuclear parity for all nations. China was invited to participate in the talks in Vienna but had not sent a delegation.
Meanwhile, Russia has said that if China is part of a new treaty, then it should include Britain and France as well. The Russian envoy to Vienna’s international organizations, Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted a statement from Russia’s negotiator saying that because of the two Western European countries’ “non-readiness” to enter a new arms treaty, the “U.S. And Russia will focus on (the) bilateral path.’