U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he would like a new nuclear weapons pact that includes Russia and China, the same day that the U.S. withdrew from a Cold War-era nuclear pact with Russia.
The U.S. withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on Friday that was signed with the Soviet Union in 1987.
The treaty banned land-based missiles that had a range of 500-5,500 km in order to reduce the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear strike.
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The U.S. says that Russia was in violation of the treaty by deploying “multiple battalions” of a cruise missile throughout the country, including in western Russia, which gives the country the ability to strike European targets.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the claim, saying it was a ploy by the U.S. to exit the pact so it could develop new missiles.
The U.S. signaled it would pull out of the treaty six months ago unless Russia adhered to the accord, which expired Friday.
Trump has previously expressed his wish for a “next-generation” arms control deal with Russia and China to cover all types of nuclear weapons, and has brought up the subject individually with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, including at the G20 summit in Osaka in June.
Russia has said it is open to a three-way deal.
Trump says China was “very excited” about the idea and thinks there will be a deal at some point.
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However, China has expressed doubt so far in joining a U.S.-Russia nuclear deal.
“The United States is saying China should be a party in this disarmament agreement, but I think everybody knows that China is not at the same level with the United States and the Russian Federation,” said China’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun.
While China claims its weapons are not on the same level as the U.S. and Russia, Reuters has previously reported that Chinese missile systems have advanced rapidly in recent years, unhindered by arms treaties, and have some ways even surpassed the American arsenal. China currently is not a party to nuclear arms pacts between the U.S. and Russia.
-With files from Reuters