US, Russia End Nuclear Talks, Agree to Second Round

US demands for China's involvement 'unrealistic'

High-profile nuclear talks between the US and Russia began Monday in Vienna and ended Tuesday, with plans for a second round of talks near the end of July or in early August. The intention is to reach a new agreement to replace New START, which is to expire soon.

Though US negotiator Marshall Billingslea said the talks were productive, details are scant, and the only public thing that the US really did was say they’d invited China (who said they didn’t intend to attend) and then slammed them on Twitter as a “no-show.”

Russian officials dismissed the whole China issue as “unrealistic,” since the limitations on arms previously applied to the US and Soviet Union, and China has far fewer weapons. Russia also suggested that if the US is so determined to drag China in, they might as well get France and Britain, even smaller nuclear powers, involved.

Billingslea said he thinks it’s unnecessary for Britain and France to get involved, but the US is still holding out on China. Russian officials have accused the US of using China as an excuse not to make progress on a new arms deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.