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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 
verify compliance.

   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 

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