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China Should Meet Russia to Consider Next Steps for Arms Control Talks, US State Department Says

© Sputnik / Igor Zarembo / Go to the mediabankAmerican Patriot missiles (File)
American Patriot missiles  (File) - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States recommends that China and Russia hold a meeting soon to discuss next steps in order to launch trilateral discussions on arms control, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Thursday.
"The United States welcomes China’s commitment to engage in arms control negotiations. As such, prudent next steps will need to include face-to-face meetings between the United States and China," Ortagus said. "The Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, Ambassador Marshall Billingslea, will invite the Chinese government to join in good faith negotiations in Vienna, Austria. The United States also recommends that China meet with Russia at an early date to consider next steps for trilateral arms control negotiations."

Ortagus continued to say that the three sides will bring different perspectives and objectives to the negotiating table, although there will surely be disagreements.

“But it is time for dialogue and diplomacy between the three biggest nuclear weapons powers on how to prevent a new arms race,” Ortagus said.

On Wednesday, US Special Representative for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea accused China of seeking nuclear weapons parity with Russia and the United States as he was pushing a case for trilateral negotiations.

Billingslea said that he sees positive evolution in China’s position and will continue efforts to bring it to the negotiations table or meet bilaterally in Vienna as a way of settling stage in due course for a trilateral discussion.

On 22 June, Russia and the US launched talks in Vienna in an effort to rescue New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the last pact limiting the two countries' nuclear arsenals that is set to expire in February. China repeatedly declined the invitation to join the talks, dashing United States’ hopes of making them trilateral.

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