The Chinese military currently has far fewer nuclear weapons than either the US or Russia, both of which have at least 5,000 nuclear warheads each.
“I can assure you that if the US says that they are ready to come down to the Chinese level (of nuclear weapons), China will be happy to participate the next day. But actually we know that’s not going to happen,” Fu Cong, head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, said at a press briefing in Beijing Wednesday.
Trump wants China to join in a three-way treaty designed to replace the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, known as the New START nuclear agreement, between Washington and Moscow, which is expected to expire in 2021.
Fu said that while China is a “strong advocate for nuclear disarmament,” Beijing’s position on trilateral talks had been made clear on “numerous occasions.”
“China has no interest in joining the so-called trilateral negotiations, given the huge gap between the nuclear arsenal of China and those of the US and the Russian Federation,” Fu said.
“For us, this trilateral negotiation is nothing but a ‘hoax,’ to use a word of the US President,” he added, referring to a favorite term of Donald Trump.
Fu dismissed claims that there was a rapid escalation of China’s nuclear missile capabilities and accused the US of trying to use China as an excuse to shirk their treaty commitments.
“The real purpose is to get rid of all restrictions and have a free hand in seeking military superiority over any adversary, real or imagined,” he said.