As senior US and Russian officials met in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss arms control, Moscow said the UK and France should be involved in broader nuclear talks since Washington wants China to participate.
US officials frequently call for China to be involved in arms control treaties, but Beijing’s nuclear arsenal is a fraction of what Washington and Moscow possess. Current estimates put China’s arsenal between 300 and 350 warheads, while the US and Russia each have around 6,000.
Russia’s response to US calls for China to participate in arms control is that the UK and France should also be involved since they boast similar arsenals. Estimates put France’s arsenal at 290 warheads and the UK’s at 215. Earlier this year, the British announced that they are increasing their stockpile and setting the cap of nuclear warheads to 260, up from the current limit of 180.
“This question has taken on particular relevance in light of London’s recent decision to increase the maximum level of nuclear warheads by 40% — to 260 units,” Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said while discussing the idea of wider arms control talks.
The US State Department described Wednesday’s talks as “professional and substantive.” No breakthroughs were made, but the two sides agreed to continue a dialogue on arms control.