China will “never” be part of arms control talks with U.S. and Russia: Chinese envoy at UN

China’s envoy to the UN Geng Shuang said on Monday that China will not join the so-called “trilateral arms control negotiation” with the U.S. and Russia as the U.S. intends to avoid its own responsibility in nuclear disarmament.  

The U.S. named China “the third largest nuclear power on Earth,” hyped up the “nuclear arms race between the U.S., Russia and China” and proposed the so-called “trilateral arms control negotiation,” which is just a trick to shift the focus of the international community, said Geng, the head of the Chinese delegation and deputy permanent representative of China to the United Nations.

Speaking during the general debate of the First Committee of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Geng called the trilateral arms control talks “coercion” and “blackmail,” saying China will never be part of such negotiation. 

China has pursued a nuclear strategy of self-defense, always kept its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for its national security, and has never and will never take part in a nuclear arms race with any other country, Geng said.

“Given the huge gap between the nuclear arsenals of China and those of the U.S. and the Russian Federation, it is unfair, unreasonable and infeasible to expect China to join in any trilateral arms control negotiation,” he continued.

But the Chinese representative said China is pursuing its responsibility to push forward nuclear disarmament.

China signed the UN-led Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) spurned by the U.S. in July, Geng noted, saying it’s a “significant” step taken by his country.

The ATT regulates a 70 billion-U.S.-dollar global cross-border trade in conventional arms and seeks to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers.

Then-U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration signed it, but it was opposed by the National Rifle Association and never ratified by the U.S. Senate.

In July 2019, the United States told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Washington did not intend to become a party to the treaty and that it had no legal obligations from its 2013 signature.

Naming the United States, Geng said the U.S. is reverted to the Cold War mentality and launched acts of unilateralism and confrontation.

“These hegemonic unilateral acts have posed the gravest threat to global strategic security and stability.”

Geng noted that China has provided $1.4 million through the United Nations Peace and Development Fund in 2018 and 2019 to help reduce illicit trafficking of small weapons in African countries.

China also has declared the policy of “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and unconditionally commits itself not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones, Geng said.

“China is the only P5 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council) country who has made such commitments,” he added.