Publish: 17 Oct 2020, 03:32 pm
On Friday, the U.S. rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal to unconditionally extend the New START nuclear treaty for one year, countering that during the period, both nations must cap warheads.
“President Putin’s response today to extend New START without freezing nuclear warheads is a non-starter,” said Robert O’Brien, the national security advisor, reports AFP.
O'Brien said the United States had already offered a one-year extension to allow time to negotiate beyond the expected expiry of the treaty in February, with the agreement that in the intervening period, the world's two largest nuclear powers would freeze warhead work. "This would have been a win for both sides, and we assumed that when I met with my counterpart in Geneva, the Russians were likely to consider this plan," O'Brien said in a Twitter statement.
“The United States is serious about arms control that will keep the entire world safe. We hope that Russia will re-evaluate its position before a costly arms race ensues,” he said.
The last major nuclear reduction agreement between the United States and Russia, the New START, restricts each nation to 1,550 nuclear warheads.
Earlier this week, US negotiator Marshall Billingslea said that during a temporary extension, Russia had agreed to a freeze, but Moscow released a denial.
If the November 3 election were to be lost by President Donald Trump, New START will expire days into Joe Biden's tenure, who supports an extension.
For China, whose nuclear arsenal is rapidly increasing but still much smaller than those of the US and Russia, the United States had been holding out without success to enter into talks on an extended, three-nation agreement.