May 19, 2013
China wants 'drastic' US, Russia nuclear arms cuts
China called on the United States and Russia to make further "drastic" cuts in their nuclear arsenals and said all states with atomic arms should undertake not to be the first to use them.
The development of missile defense systems which "disrupt" the global strategic balance should be abandoned, a senior Chinese diplomat also told a nuclear meeting in Vienna in a possible reference to US plans that have angered Russia.
Under a treaty that entered into force in February 2011, Washington and Moscow are to limit the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550 - 30 percent lower than the ceiling a 2002 pact established.
But they still hold most of the world's nuclear arms - a fact underlined by the Chinese representative on the opening day of a two-week meeting in Vienna to discuss the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a 1970 pact.
China, Britain and France are the other three recognized nuclear weapons states in the world.
Ambassador Cheng Jingye, head of the Chinese delegation, said all nuclear weapons states should publicly undertake "not to seek permanent possession" of atomic bombs.
"As countries with (the) largest nuclear arsenals, U.S. and Russia should continue to make drastic reductions in their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable and irreversible manner," he said, according to a copy of his statement.
"Other nuclear weapon states, when conditions are ripe, should also join the multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament."