The Russian government wants to get new nuclear agreements in place with the United States. This is due to the massive spending program the Trump administration has put in place for the American military and nuclear modernization. The Russians simply cannot keep up with this level of spending and they know it; hence the push for new START talks on either a treaty extension or a new agreement altogether.
For its part, the U.S. withdrew from several longstanding treaties, and have made noise about letting the current START treaty expire, in order to force the Chinese to the table to join any future arms control as the Trump administration sees China as the primary existential threat to the United States.
Secretary of State Pompeo reported progress in talks with the Russians in recent meetings.
“In the last handful of months, we’ve been working diligently to get the three nations that have the largest nuclear capabilities – the United States, Russia, and China – to have a strategic dialogue about how we move forward together to decrease the risk to the world that these massive weapons are used, and we’ve made progress with the Russians. We’ve had two good gatherings; I hope we’ll have one before too long,” Secreatary of State Mike Pompeo said, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“And we are hopeful that the Chinese will choose to participate. We think it’s in their best interest. We know it’s in the best interest of the world,” Pompeo said with confidence.
“I hope they’ll participate in that. We hope the Russians will urge them to participate in that and we hope the whole world will come to understand that it’s very important that those three nuclear powers with significant resources and capabilities will all come together to create a more robust, more stable strategic situation with respect to the risks not only of the use of nuclear weapons, but on their proliferation as well,” he added.
The New START Treaty will remain in force for 10 years, until February 5, 2021, unless it is replaced before that date by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. It can also be extended for no longer than 5 years (that is, until 2026) by the parties’ mutual consent, wrote TASS.
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