he only remaining arms control treaty between the United States and Russia, the “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,” was renewed on the 20th by North Korea for one year. On the same day, Russia agreed that both sides would freeze all nuclear warheads in exchange for a one-year renewal of the treaty, which received a positive response from the United States.
However, some Western experts and the media worry that the renewal of the treaty will face difficulties such as verification. They also questioned that US President Donald Trump rushed to renew his contract before the election because of his political self-interest in the re-election campaign.
The US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus issued a statement on the same day, saying that he “appreciates” the attitude of the Russian side and that the US side is “ready to meet immediately to reach a verifiable agreement.” “We hope that the Russian side will authorize diplomats to do the same. Thing”.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said earlier in the day: “Russia proposes to renew the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty for one year, and is willing to make a political commitment with the US to’freeze’ the number of nuclear warheads held by both sides during this period.”
The Associated Press reported that it is unclear when the two sides will negotiate the renewal and the form of the treaty.
The “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty” signed in 2010 by then US President Barack Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is the only arms control treaty between the two countries. The treaty will expire on February 5 next year, but the validity of the treaty can be extended for up to five years after negotiations between the two countries.
The United States recently proposed a one-year renewal of the treaty, and at the same time called for expanding the scope of nuclear warhead restrictions. The original treaty only restricted US-Russian strategic nuclear warheads, but the US hopes to also restrict warheads installed on battlefield weapons, that is, tactical nuclear warheads.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that the US proposal to restrict both tactical and strategic nuclear warheads is unacceptable unless the US first withdraws nuclear warheads from Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last week proposed to extend the treaty unconditionally for at least one year. Robert O’Brien, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, responded that any proposal that does not require the freezing of nuclear warheads “will not work.”
According to Reuters, the statement made by the Russian Foreign Ministry on the 20th shows that the positions of Russia and the United States are similar.
Regarding the renewal of the treaty, representatives of the two countries have held several rounds of negotiations since June this year, but no substantial progress has been made. According to the Associated Press, Trump believes that the treaty is “defective” and “unfavorable to the United States,” and it was not until this year that he began negotiations with Russia on the renewal.
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the U.S. Arms Control Association, believes that the United States and Russia’s commitment to freeze warheads within one year is “politically binding.” If combined with the one-year renewal of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, “may be an effective The way to build confidence”. Kimball said, “This may be a step in the right direction for temporarily reversing the full arms race.” This gives the United States and Russia more time to negotiate a new nuclear arms control treaty.
However, based on the respective statements of the United States and Russia, the media inferred that the two countries may face the problem of “how to verify each other’s compliance with the freeze commitment”. Lavrov explicitly rejected the verification request made by the US last week, that is, as in the 1990s, experts from the two countries inspected each other’s missile factories. There is no such provision in the existing treaties.
Former Obama administration official Jon Wolfstar believes that the intention of the United States and Russia to negotiate a renewal is not a breakthrough. The Trump administration’s proposed verification method is more stringent, requiring the US to be allowed to track the entire process from the time the Russian warhead leaves the factory.
Frank Rose, another Obama-era official and an analyst at the Brookings Institution of the United States, believes that the negotiation of such an agreement within two weeks of the presidential election day on November 3 faces many important issues. “We should not try to negotiate in a hurry. Such an important matter”.
The Associated Press noted that Trump is currently trying various methods to boost his diplomatic performance. Reuters quoted some experts as saying that Trump intends to renew the treaty, but only wants to obtain another “diplomatic achievement” before the election.