US plans consultations with Russia

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The United States plans to discuss a possibility of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China at Geneva consultations with Russia on July 17-18, senior US officials told media. US officials noted that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) will not be discussed at the talks and said that Washington does not expect any breakthrough at the consultations.

A good meeting would be some greater clarity about where the Russians see things going with the Chinese, one US official said. However, another official noted that China is not a party to nuclear arms treaties between the US and Russia and it is unclear how willing Beijing would be to participate in talks on this issue. Taking about the possibility of renewing the New START that expires in 2021, one of the officials said that it would be premature as this matter constitutes a next-year problem.

The new round of talks on strategic stability between Russia and the US will take place in Geneva on July 17-18. The US delegation will be led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, and the Russian delegation will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government welcomes the upcoming talks between Russia and the US on the possibility of signing a new nuclear arms treaty, however, so far, it sees no grounds for China’s participation in these talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang stated during Tuesday’s briefing in response to a TASS request for comment on the upcoming Russia-US consultations.

Russia and the US are the world’s biggest nuclear powers. The fact that they plan to discuss arms control is a very good event, he noted. The diplomat added that Russia and the US must continue to reduce their nuclear inventory in a verifiable and irreversible manner. This will provide conditions for nuclear disarmament. I am confident that in this way, Russia and the US can send a positive signal to the whole world, Geng Shuang added.

As for China’s participation in these talks, we have stated our position many times. Currently, we do not see preconditions or grounds for China’s participation in such talks. Russia has reiterated that it understands China’s stance on this issue, the diplomat stressed.

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