US President Donald Trump called Thursday for involving China in new arms control talks with Russia, telling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that they need to avoid a “costly arms race,” the White House said.
“President Trump reaffirmed that the United States is committed to effective arms control that includes not only Russia, but also China, and looks forward to future discussions to avoid a costly arms race,” a statement said.
Trump and Putin spoke by phone, also discussing the global coronavirus pandemic, the White House said.
“President Trump reiterated that the United States is working hard to care for Americans at home and is also ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia,” the statement said.
Russia and the United States — rivals during the four decades of the Cold War — ripped up the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty this year, blaming one another for its demise.
That deal was seen as a cornerstone of global security and its burial sparked fears of a new arms race.
Washington is threatening to quit the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or “New START”, when it expires next year.
New START — which obliged them to halve the number of missile launchers and set up a new verification regime — is seen as the last major deal keeping their arsenals below the Cold War peak.
However, Trump has been pushing for China to be brought into a future deal, arguing that Beijing’s missile and nuclear capability is rapidly expanding.