Arms control discussions between the US and Russia concluded Tuesday in Vienna, with both countries walking away from the table with concerns unaddressed.
The most contentious element of the discussions involved China, and whether or not the country should be included in any future arms treaties.
The US demands China be included in any future deals. The country was invited to participate in the Vienna talks, but declined.
US negotiator Marshall Billingslea suggested Beijing had an “obligation” to participate in the talks.
“It is incumbent on the Chinese upon themselves to recognise that they have an obligation to negotiate with us and the Russians in good faith,” he said. “And we intend to hold them to that obligation.”
The Washington Post reported that the US wants any future deals involving nuclear arms limitation to cover all types of warheads, to include better methods for verifying compliance, and to include China.
China has treated the US’s demands as an attempt for the US to avoid entering into any new arms reduction treaties, but said it would gladly agree to participate in discussions if the US was willing to commit to nuclear parity among all nations; that is, no one gets nuclear weapons, or everyone does.
Russia was less enthusiastic about forcing China to join in on future treaties, and demanded that if China were expected to join, then so too should Britain and France.
The Trump administration claims China has been testing nuclear weapons and expanding its warhead arsenal in secret.
Mr Billingslea characterised China’s arsenal expansion as a “rapid buildup” and said the country sought to achieve “nuclear parity” with the US and Russia.
In April, the US accused China of carrying out underground nuclear weapons tests.
The US and China both entered into the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, but neither country actually ratified the agreement. China claims it’s adhering to the measures, and the US has had a moratorium on nuclear testing since entering the treaty.