Trump claims that China wants to join New Start Treaty

Jun 2013
1. US President Donald Trump has said China would like to be part of a new three-way accord to limit nuclear arms – a suggestion greeted with scepticism by many observers who questioned whether Beijing would want to limit its ability to enhance its second-strike capacity.

Trump, who had a lengthy telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, said they had discussed ways to include China in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), which became effective in 2011.

“We discussed the possibility of a three-way deal instead of a two-way deal. And China – I’ve already spoken to them. They very much would like to be a part of that deal,” Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini....

The exact number of Chinese warheads is a closely guarded secret, but a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute last year estimated China has about 280 nuclear warheads, compared with a total of 6,450 deployed and non-deployed warheads for the US and 6,850 for Russia....

2. Donald Trump may be right when he claimed that "China would like to be part of a new three-way accord to limit nuclear arms". His proposal is certainly "a very good idea” for China. He may be unconsciously giving China a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to level the playing field in nuclear deterrence. How?

First and foremost, China must press the US to reduce its nuclear warheads from 6,450 to 280 before any meaningful arms control treaty can be signed.

Using an analogy, a hornet may reproach a timid elephant in an argument: "You wish to be as gigantic as an extinct Tyrannosaurus rex, yet you want me to be as tiny as an ant. This is what cowardice looks like. What a disgrace! What a shame!" :)
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