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Biden says he is willing to negotiate a new nuclear arms control framework with Russia to replace START III

In the White House, they consider that the discussions should include China.

USA. is willing to “quickly” negotiate a new arms control framework with Russia to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (also known as START III or New START), when it expires in 2026. This appears collected this Monday in a statement by President Joe Biden released by the White House on the occasion of the opening of the tenth conference of the participants of the treaty of Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT).

According to Biden, “negotiation requires a partner willing to operate in good faith”, so that, in the context of the current conflict in Ukraine, Moscow “must demonstrate that it is prepared to resume arms control work relations with the US”.

Likewise, the president evokes the experience of the former USSR and the US, which, “even in the middle of the Cold War“, were able to work together to guarantee the to strategic stability.

On the other hand, the head of the White House emphasized that the discussions aimed at articulating a new nuclear weapons control system must include China, which also “has a responsibility as a nuclear weapon state and is a member of the P5 [five nuclear-armed countries]”. In this sense, Biden considers it necessary for Beijing to get involved in a negotiating process that “will reduce the risk of miscalculation and address destabilizing military dynamics.”

In May, Beijing crossed out Washington as “the greatest source of nuclear threat in the world“, and indicated that the versions spread by US on a supposed Chinese atomic threat are speculative and prejudiced.

The spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, recalled at that time that Washington has the largest nuclear arsenal and advanced in the world and that continues “investing billions of dollars to improve its nuclear triad, developing low-yield atomic weapons”. Likewise, he remarked that the North American country “ has withdrawn from the legal instruments on arms control, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and refuses to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.”

In a nuclear war there will be no winners

For his part, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, emphasized this Monday in his message to the participants of the conference of the NPT that Moscow continues to comply “consistently with the spirit and letter” of the treaty. He also assured that Moscow fulfilled its commitments on arms control in the framework of bilateral agreements with Washington. “We assume that in a nuclear war there can be no winners and must never be freed, and we advocate equal and indivisible security for all members of the international community”, stressed the president.

In his speech during the event, the Secretary General of the to the UN, António Guterres, warned that the danger of a nuclear conflict has reached a point “not seen since the height of the Cold War“.

“Humanity is in danger of forget the lessons forged in the terrifying bombings of [the Japanese cities of] Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Geopolitical tensions are reaching new heights,” he stressed.

  • Moscow and Washington signed START III or New START in Prague (Czech Republic) on April 8, 2010. In February 2021, both sides agreed to extend without preconditions this agreement, the only existing arms reduction agreement between the two nuclear powers, until 2026.
  • Following the signing of the agreement, the parties committed to reducing their nuclear forces to 700 aircraft carriers, 1,550 nuclear warheads, and 800 launchers.
  • In January of this year, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, the five members of the UN Security Council, issued a joint statement stressing that their primary responsibility is the prevention of war between nuclear-armed nations, as well as the reduction of strategic risks.
  • In June, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, urged the U.S. side to discuss the issue, amid the absence of contact between the two countries on strategic stability issues.

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