WH Wants to Engage Russia on Nukes 06/02 06:17
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is ready to have talks with Russia
without preconditions about a future nuclear arms control framework even as it
is enacting countermeasures in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's
decision to suspend the last nuclear arms control treaty between the two
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan will make clear the
Biden administration's desire for talks on building a new framework during an
address to the Arms Control Association on Friday, according to two senior
administration officials who previewed the address on the condition of
Putin announced in February he was suspending Russia's cooperation with the
New START Treaty's provisions for nuclear warhead and missile inspections amid
deep tensions between Washington and Moscow over Russia's ongoing invasion of
Ukraine. Russia, however, said it would respect the treaty's caps on nuclear
The officials said that Sullivan would underscore that the U.S. remains
committed to adhering to the treaty if Russia does but will also "signal that
we are open to dialogue" about building a new framework for managing nuclear
risks once the treaty expires in February 2026.
The officials said that the Biden administration is willing to stick to the
warhead caps until the treaty expires. Figuring out details about a post-2026
framework will be complicated by U.S.-Russia tension and the growing nuclear
strength of China.
China now has about 410 nuclear warheads, according to an annual survey from
the Federation of American Scientists. The Pentagon in November estimated
China's warhead count could grow to 1,000 by the end of the decade and to 1,500
by around 2035.
The size of China's arsenal and whether Beijing is willing to engage in
substantive dialogue will impact the United States' future force posture and
Washington's ability to come to any agreement with the Russians, the officials
U.S.-Chinese relations have been strained by the U.S. shooting down a
Chinese spy balloon earlier this year after it crossed the continental U.S.;
tensions about the status of the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China
claims as its own; U.S. export controls aimed at limiting China's advanced
semiconductor equipment; and other friction.
The White House push on Moscow on nuclear arms control comes the day after
the administration announced new countermeasures over Russia suspending
participation in the treaty.
The State Department announced Thursday it would no longer notify Russia of
any updates on the status or location of "treaty-accountable items" like
missiles and launchers, would revoke U.S. visas issued to Russian treaty
inspectors and aircrew members and would cease providing telemetric information
on test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched
ballistic missiles. The United States and Russia earlier this year stopped
sharing biannual nuclear weapons data required by the treaty.
The treaty, which then-Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in
2010, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and
700 deployed missiles and bombers and provides for on-site inspections to
The inspections have been dormant since 2020 because of the COVID-19
pandemic. Discussions on resuming them were supposed to have taken place in
November 2022, but Russia abruptly called them off, citing U.S. support for