US Delays New START Nuclear Talks, Hoping to Bring in China

China has shown no interest in involvement

It is increasingly less likely that the New START Treaty between the United States and Russia will be extended by the deadline for the previous version. The US has been holding off on any talks, saying they believe the next deal must also include China.

President Trump has been keen to get China in on these arms reduction talks for some time, but China has rejected the idea consistently, saying they believe the two largest nuclear powers need to work this out themselves.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense on the surface to include China, which has 280 nuclear weapons, compared to thousands each for the US and Russia. If a new New START caps the nations’ respective arsenals, it would almost certainly not impact China. Even if China’s arsenal grows at the worst-case rate of the US projections, they still won’t have an arsenal big enough to be included in this matter.

Analysts say the reason to even suggest China’s involvement would be that the US doesn’t intend to extend New START and wants to deflect blame for the death of the last arms reduction treaty.

There is no reason to think China will come on board, since they don’t stand to gain anything. The limitations only impact Russia and the US, and for China, getting thrown in the mix just adds costs for compliance, and offers nothing else.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.