US, China hold rare talks on nuclear arms control

The United States (US) and China on Monday held rare talks on nuclear arms control, a new step to ease mistrust ahead of an expected presidential summit next week.

The talks – the first meeting specifically on nuclear arms between the two powers since president Barack Obama’s administration come as the United States voices alarm over China’s growing nuclear arsenal.

No breakthroughs were expected at the one-day talks in Washington, which follow a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

However, this engagement will continue efforts to responsibly manage the relationship and ensure competition does not veer into conflict.

Noteworthy, President Joe Biden is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next week on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in San Francisco in the first meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies in a year.

Monday’s talks were taking place between Mallory Stewart, the US assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, and Sun Xiaobo, the director general of the Chinese foreign ministry’s arms control department.

Worth mentioning that US in a congressionally mandated report last month said that China was developing its nuclear arsenal more quickly than the United States earlier anticipated.

At present, China possesses more than 500 operational nuclear warheads as of May 2023 and is likely to have more than 1,000 by 2030.

While, the United States currently possesses about 3,700 nuclear warheads, trailing Russia’s roughly 4,500, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which counts 410 warheads for China.