China is again calling on the US and Russia to significantly reduce their nuclear arsenals to begin a path towards complete nuclear disarmament. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the call on Thursday after President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin said they would pursue new arms control talks.
Zhao said the US and Russian decision to engage in “strategic stability” dialogue was a “welcomed” development. He said the US and Russia should “substantively slash their nuclear stockpile in a verifiable, irreversible, and legally-binding way to create conditions for the ultimate comprehensive and complete nuclear disarmament.”
While China hawks in the US hype up Beijing’s nuclear arsenal, it is only a fraction of what Washington and Moscow have. Current high-end estimates put China’s arsenal at around 350 warheads, while the US and Russia both have about 6,000.
Zhao said China also has plans to engage in dialogue on strategic stability. The US wants China to participate in trilateral arms control agreements, but that won’t happen until the US and Russia dismantle some warheads. Last week, during the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, China also urged the US and Russia to reduce their arsenals.
Putin and Biden released a joint statement after their summit in Geneva on Wednesday that said the two countries could never fight a nuclear war. “Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the statement said.