Donald Trump said Moscow that the US is prepared to hold a summit with other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council hoping to press in three ways arms control pact with Russia and China, a senior White House official told Reuters.
The new START treaty, the last major arms control treaty left between the U.S. and Russia, expires in 2021.
There is talk of negotiating an extension of the existing treaty, but the White House thinks the next generation of arms control should also include China, which is expected to more than double its stockpile over the next decade.
Russia asked the United States to extend the new START treaty for up to five years, but Moscow also adopted the idea of bringing China to an agreement.
The United States and Russia had three bilateral meetings, while Washington and Beijing discussed maintaining a similar dialogue, but the planned meeting would be the first time that representatives of the three countries would be at the same table discussing the matter.
"Russia wants to make a deal very much on arms and nuclear control. And that's smart. And so are we. We think it would be a good thing," President Trump told a news conference in December. "And we will certainly also bring, as you know, China. And we can bring them later, or we can bring them now."
China has nuclear weapons, ballistic missile capabilities and the know-how to manufacture chemical and biological weapons. It is also upgrading its nuclear arsenal. Beijing has signed several international arms deals, but none has limited nuclear weapons.
The time and place of the meeting has yet to be determined, but a senior government official said the United States would use the meeting to seek a trilateral arms control agreement that would bring China into the fold.
The meeting is expected to include leaders from the US, Russia, China, Britain and France – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, according to White House guidelines.
The United States will use this opportunity to bring Russia and China into the international arms control framework and prevent an expensive armed race, the government official said.