China sees no conditions for engaging in talks with the U.S. and Russia on nuclear arms controls, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said at a news conference on Tuesday.
U.S. and Russian officials will reportedly meet in Geneva on Wednesday to talk about their visions of a new nuclear arms deal, which could involve China.
U.S. President Donald Trump raised the idea of a three-way accord during talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Osaka last month, The New York Times stated on Monday, citing administration officials.
Asked whether China could be drawn into such talks, Geng Shuang told reporters that “at the moment we see no basis or preconditions for China participating in such negotiations”.
The spokesman added that Russia had been informed about China’s stance on trilateral nuclear talks and had repeatedly said that it understood where China was coming from.
President Trump is sending a high-level delegation to meet with Russian counterparts in Geneva this week to pursue an arms control treaty that for the first time would cap the nuclear arsenals of not just the two largest powers, but China as well.
Administration officials said on Monday that Trump broached the idea with President Putin of Russia during their meeting in Osaka, Japan in June and had also signaled his ambition for such a three-way accord to the Chinese President.
The meeting comes at a fraught moment in the history of arms control between Washington and Moscow.
Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987, on the grounds of Russian violations takes effect in August over Putin’s objections.
Trump’s team has also signaled that it is not interested in renewing the New Start treaty of 2020, which expires in 19 months despite Russia’s entreaties to keep it.
While Russia has expressed interest in the three-way accord, China has not.
China has long argued that it maintains only a relatively small arsenal of weapons for deterrence.
But the Defense Intelligence Agency estimated in May that China is “likely to at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile” in the next decade.