U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to continue a dialogue about the next phase of arms control after their summit Wednesday; a safeguard that China says should include the cutting of their nuclear arsenals.
In the meeting, Putin and Biden also agreed to reduce the threat of nuclear war because it must “never be fought” and because it “cannot be won.” China called their agreement to engage in bilateral dialogue to reach stability a “welcome” development. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, said the United States and Russia should “substantively slash their nuclear stockpile in a verifiable, irreversible and legally binding way to create conditions for the ultimate comprehensive and complete nuclear disarmament,” Newsweek reported.
“This is the most effective way to uphold global strategic stability and promote international peace and security,” Lijian added.
Russia, the U.S., China, the United Kingdom and France are all considered nuclear states and have signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The treaty is seen as a landmark in its objective to prevent any more countries from acquiring nuclear weapons and achieve nuclear disarmament one day.
Putin and Biden released a joint statement that they “seek to lay the groundwork” for future arms control. The groundwork they refer to would determine what an arms control treaty should address and how to avoid triggering a war.
Zhao said China also has plans to engage in such talks, and they would be held with “mutual respect and on equal footing.”
But even though Zhao advocates that the two countries reduce their nuclear supply, an editor for Chinese state media considered the country’s nuclear arsenal its best defense. Hu Xijin, an editor for the Chinese state-controlled Global Times, said, increasing China’s number of commissioned nuclear warheads is a “cornerstone” of deterrence against the United States.
“We must be prepared for an intense showdown between China and the U.S. The number of China’s nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes U.S. elites shiver should they entertain the idea of engaging in a military confrontation with China,” Hu wrote.
Before the summit between Biden and Putin, the Global Times asked a Russian official to take a stance amid a potential armed conflict between China and the U.S.
But Andrey Denisov, Russia’s ambassador to China, said he would not answer the question because he doesn’t believe such a war would happen, and if it did it would “exterminate all mankind.”