Russia rejects U.S. nuclear weapons ultimatum

The U.S. may not expect Russia to try to bring China to the negotiating table on strategic weapons, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov during an online discussion organized by the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.

According to Ryabkov, the Americans made such a demand at the negotiations on the extension of the START 3 treaty, the last existing agreement limiting the number of nuclear warheads in the United States and Russia.

The treaty, which expires in 2021, has the possibility of an extension for another five years, but dialogue on this issue has stalled.

"The Americans say: bring us the Chinese to the negotiating table. Why on earth, the question arises?" said Ryabkov, as quoted by TASS.

Beijing has no desire to limit its nuclear capabilities. "The position of the People's Republic of China is well known to us. We treat it with great respect, and colleagues in Washington may not expect that we will make any efforts to satisfy their wishes," the deputy minister said.

He stressed that the fundamental rule of any negotiation was that its participants should be driven by a conscious understanding of their own interest in such negotiations. "This should be based on their (China's) political will," Ryabkov said.

Last year, the Intermediate-Range Missile Treaty, which prohibited the United States from deploying nuclear weapons in Europe, and Russia' weapons aimed at European NATO members, went to the dustbin of history. The collapse of START III would mean the collapse of the global nuclear weapons limitation system created by the United States and the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War.

"One of the main problems with the START Treaty - among its many other shortcomings - is that the Chinese do not participate in it," Marshall Billingsley, the special representative for arms control, explained in an interview with The Washington Times.

He also stressed that the treaty is more beneficial to Russia than the United States, and Washington is not interested in "arms control simply for the sake of the very fact of arms control."

  Russia, USA, China, START