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China rejects new US invite to join nuclear talks

10 July 2020, MVT 19:08
(FILES) In this file photo paramilitary police officers wearing face masks march in front of the entrance of the Forbidden City in Beijing on May 19, 2020. - The United States on July 9, 2020 again invited China to talks on arms control, saying it saw an opening with Beijing on three-way negotiations with Russia despite intense disagreements. "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," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. PHOTO: NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP
10 July 2020, MVT 19:08

China on Friday rejected a new US invitation to join arms control talks with Russia, complaining that Washington had continued to "pester" Beijing over the issue.

President Donald Trump's administration has demanded that China take part in talks on a successor to the New START treaty, which caps the nuclear warheads of the United States and Russia -- the two Cold War-era superpowers.

Beijing said in response that it would only join the talks if the US reduced its arsenal to match China's much smaller nuclear deterrent, prompting Washington to again issue a fresh invitation to the talks on Thursday.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian poured cold water on the idea during a Friday press briefing.

"China's opposition of the so-called trilateral arms control negotiations is very clear," he said.

"However, the US continues to pester China, even distorting China's position."

Zhao said Washington's proposal for trilateral negotiations was "neither serious nor sincere", calling on it to instead respond to Russia's call for an extension of the treaty and further reduce its own nuclear arsenal.

Beijing, China | AFP

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