Marshall Billingslea Announced The Possible Conclusion Of A Nuclear Agreement With The Russian Federation
The US may agree to conclude a new agreement on strategic nuclear weapons with Russia, although it considers China a threat that must be eliminated "urgently," said the US special representative for arms control, Marshall Billingslea.
"This, I think, is a very reasonable approach, especially because we may be able to agree with Russia on something that would be a framework that we would like China to enter," Billingslea said in a telephone interview with the Japanese publication Nikkei.
He believes that signing a new agreement on strategic offensive weapons with Russia will become a method of pressure on "an urgent threat" to China.
Billingslea noted that "this is a flexible process" and moved away from the requirement that there should be a simultaneous agreement between the United States, China, and Russia.
"Our concept is that it is possible to conduct bilateral negotiations, both between the United States and Russia and between the United States and China, as long as these negotiations eventually enter a trilateral framework," the diplomat said.
He noted that Washington intends to continue pressure on Beijing to involve China in the negotiations. At the same time, the head of the Department for arms control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Fu Cong, said earlier that "if the US says that it is ready to go down to the Chinese nuclear level, China will be happy to participate in the talks the next day," adding that "in fact, we know that this will not happen."
As reported, Billingslea said the day before that the US delegation to the upcoming talks with Russia on strategic stability will be extremely representative and aimed at a serious dialogue.
"The US is sending one of the most representative delegations of all time. It includes many influential generals and admirals, as well as employees of the Pentagon and the Department of energy," he wrote in his microblog on Twitter.
According to Billingslea, this shows "how seriously we take this event." "We hope that Russia will treat this as well, and we will check the seriousness of its intentions," the special representative added.
Earlier on Friday, the US State Department said that Billingslea would arrive in Vienna on August 17, to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on strategic stability issues.
Earlier, Ryabkov said that a new round of consultations between Russia and the United States on strategic stability would take place in Vienna on August 16-18.
"The next round of Russian-American consultations on strategic stability will take place on August 16-18 in Vienna," Ryabkov told Interfax.
The previous round of consultations on strategic stability took place on June 22. At that time, the Russian and US delegations, led by Billingslea and Ryabkov, discussed the prospects for arms control in Vienna, including the issue of extending the strategic offensive arms Treaty. Besides, within the framework of the strategic dialogue, meetings of expert working groups on several topical issues related to the interaction of the two countries in the field of strengthening international security and arms control were held in Vienna, on July 27-30.