The United States and China agree to hold talks on nuclear arsenals

The United States and China agree to hold talks on nuclear arsenals

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping agree to hold talks aimed at reducing tensions, while US anxiety grows due to China’s nuclear expansion arsenal and his recent test a hypersonic weapon.

Jake Sullivan, a U.S. national security adviser, said the U.S. and Chinese presidents discussed the need to negotiate nuclear “strategic stability” in their virtual meeting At Monday. China has previously refused to conduct nuclear negotiations, in part because the United States has a much larger arsenal of weapons.

“The two leaders agreed that we would look to begin talks on strategic stability,” Sullivan told an audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The two sides have not decided on the format for the talks, and the United States wants to see if China will fulfill the promise given by Xi.

This development is the first sign that the two sides have reached an agreement on easing tensions over serious security issues. This comes against the backdrop of the worst relations between the US and China since the two countries normalized diplomatic relations in 1979.

At the meeting, which lasted more than three hours, Biden emphasized that the two countries must create “protective fences” to ensure that their competition “does not turn into a conflict”. Xi said they should avoid jumping off the rails US-China relations.

The Pentagon said last week that China was planning more than fourfold its stockpile of at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030. China is said to be building hundreds of silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles and to have an “nuclear triad” in the making – the ability to launch nuclear missiles from land, sea and air – after setting up a nuclear bomber.

The U.S. Department of Defense also said China is changing its nuclear stance in ways that suggest it has moved away from “minimal deterrence” – a policy aimed at ensuring it has enough weapons to retaliate against an enemy attack – after five decades.

Last month, the Financial Times reported that China tested nuclear hypersonic weapons that could orbit the Earth in July. General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the test was close. “Satellite moment“, In reference to the Soviet Union launching a satellite into space in 1957.

Asked about China’s rapid nuclear expansion, which has become more apparent in the past year, and about the hypersonic missile test, Sullivan said the issues were “of great importance to U.S. national security.”

“President Biden has raised the need for a series of talks on strategic stability with President Xi. . . which must be led by leaders and led by senior empowered teams on both sides that intersect security, technology and diplomacy, ”Sullivan said.

The national security adviser added that talks with China will not be on the same level as the “strategic stability dialogue” that the United States is conducting with Russia, which has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and with which the United States has decades of weapons. control negotiations.

“There is less maturity [the nuclear aspect] in US-China relations, but the two leaders discussed these issues. And now it is up to us to think about the most productive way to pass it on, ”Sullivan said.

Although leaders have made progress on the nuclear issue, there have been no signs of any easing of tensions. Taiwan. Biden said he supported the “one China” policy, in which Washington recognizes Beijing as the sole seat of the Chinese government, but expressed concern over Chinese military activities near the island.

Xi warned him that anyone who supports the proponents of Taiwan’s independence is “playing with fire” and will be “burned.”

Some experts think Beijing is expands its arsenal neutralize Washington’s ability to threaten China with nuclear weapons, which would make it easier for the Chinese military to defeat the U.S. in a non-nuclear conflict over Taiwan.

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