China rejects prospect of joining arms control talks with US

China has rejected any prospect of joining in trilateral arms limitation talks with the U.S., calling reports from Washington that it would do so a distortion of its stated position

BEIJING -- China on Friday rejected any prospect of joining in nuclear arms limitation talks with the U.S., calling reports from Washington that it would do so a distortion of its stated position.

“China’s objection to the so-called trilateral arms control negotiations is very clear, and the U.S. knows it very well. However, the U.S. is persistent on the issue and even distorted China’s position,” Zhao said at a daily news briefing.

The U.S. pointedly noted the Chinese absence at talks with Russia in Vienna two weeks ago on extending or replacing NEW Start, a 2010 arms reduction treaty that expires in February.

The pact is between the U.S. and Russia, long the world’s major nuclear powers. The Trump administration wants China, as a rising military power, to join.

Fu Cong, the director general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, on Wednesday called that demand unrealistic because China has a much smaller nuclear arsenal than the other two. By inviting China to join, the U.S. is creating a pretext to walk away from the talks without replacing the treaty, he said.