US, Russia to discuss arms control this month: Envoy

US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said that Washington and Moscow had set the date and venue for nuclear arms negotiations this month.

“Today agreed with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June,” Xinhua news agency quoted Billingslea as saying in a tweet on Monday, without providing further details.

China is also invited for the talks, according to Billingslea’s tweet.

China, however, has repeatedly reiterated that it has no intention of participating in the so-called trilateral arms control negotiations with the US and Russia.

Citing a US Department of State official, Bloomberg reported on Monday that a new round of arms control talks between the two nuclear superpowers would be held in Vienna on June 22.

The upcoming meeting will be the first arms control talks between Billingslea and his Russian counterpart, said Bloomberg, suggesting that “the Trump administration has softened its stance on extending New START (New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)”.

In 2010, Washington and Moscow signed the New START, which stipulates the limits to the numbers of deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems by both.

The New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers, will expire on February 5, 2021.

The agreement can be extended for at most five years with the consent of the two countries. Russia has expressed willingness to extend the treaty, while the Trump administration has yet to officially reply.

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