China said it would be pleased to join a three-party arms control negotiations with Russia and the United States on one condition: the U.S. must be willing to cut its nuclear inventory to the same level of China, a top Chinese official disclosed Wednesday.
Washington has consistently called on Beijing to participate in trilateral talks to extend the New START, a US-Russian flagship nuclear weapons deal that is set to expire in February 2021.
Last month, U.S. and Russian officials held talks in Vienna to discuss replacing the New START Treaty, which restricts each side to 1,550 nuclear warheads.
U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that China be included in the talks on disarmament, citing what he says is the free rein that Beijing has had to develop weapons technologies. China seems not interested in taking part in the talks.
Fu Cong, Chinese foreign ministry chief of arms control department, reiterated to members of the media in Beijing Wednesday that China has no interest in participating in the talks with former Cold War-era superpowers, considering that the US nuclear war chest is around 20 times the size of China's.
Currently, China's military has far less nuclear weapons compared to either the U.S. or Russia, both of which maintain around 5,000 nuclear warheads each. The priority for China is for the U.S. and Russia to concur to extend the New START treaty and continue to slash their massive arsenals on that condition, Fu said.
In comparison, it is projected that China only has approximately 320, based on figures by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which means Washington would be required to get rid of over 4,500 warheads from its arsenal to match Beijing's. The U.S. and and Russia hold over 90 percent of the planet's nuclear weapons, the SIPRI said.
"I can assure you that if the United States says they're ready to go down to China's (nuclear weapons) level, it would be happy to join the next day," Fu stressed, as reported by Arzu of TechToday19. Fu added that in reality, they know that won't happen, referring to the U.S. cutting down the number of its warheads.
According to Fu, the U.S. demand is very unrealistic because China has a much tinier nuclear inventory compared to Russia and the U.S. By inviting China to participate, America is just creating a pretext to turn its back on the discussions without replacing the treaty, he said.