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China and the United States will hold the first nuclear arms control talks since the Obama era next week, the People’s Republic announced on Thursday.
Beijing said the two nations will hold “consultations on arms control and non-proliferation” in Washington DC on November 6.
News of the upcoming meeting comes within days of the Department of Defence (DoD) announcing US developers will start working on the creation of new nuclear weapons 13 times larger than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The bombs are expected to be 24 times more powerful than the two specimens used in Japan at the end of World War II and will substitute the current stock of nuclear bombs in America’s arsenal.
The Pentagon said it will be seeking congressional approval and funding for the research and development of the new weapons.
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John Plumb, the Assistant Secretary of Defence for Space Policy at the DoD, said following the announcement: Today’s announcement is reflective of a changing security environment and growing threats from potential adversaries.
“The United States has a responsibility to continue to assess and field the capabilities we need to credibly deter and, if necessary, respond to strategic attacks, and assure our allies.”
Last month, expert analysis showed China is expected to double its stock of nuclear warheads to 1,000 by 2030 following a surge in production.
The nuclear arms control talks will come before an expected meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum later this month.
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Senior State Department official Mallory Stewart is set to take the reins of the meeting with Sun Xiaobo, the head of the arms-control department at the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Daryl Kimball said the meeting is likely to focus on the two nations promoting greater transparency on their respective doctrines on the use of nuclear weapons and how to best tackle any potential crisis.
The executive director of the Arms Control Association said: “I don’t think, however, we should expect breakthroughs in the near term.”
“That’s going to take time and give and take from both sides.”
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