Donald Trump has called on the US, Russia, and China to reduce their nuclear arsenals amid reports that his administration is planning to propose a landmark arms control deal with Beijing and Moscow.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, the US president said that he welcomed Russia’s efforts to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula – but that more must be done.
“We want to get rid of the nuclear weapons, we all have to get rid [of them]. Russia has to get rid of them, and China has to get rid of them,” Trump stated.
His comments coincide with reports that the White House is gearing up for an ambitious arms control treaty with Russia and China. The deal, still in its early stages, would impose restrictions on unregulated nuclear weapons and would call on Beijing to join an arms-control pact verifying China’s nuclear capabilities.
In past months, Trump has publicly expressed support for the idea of limiting or reducing the world’s nuclear arsenals.
“Between Russia and China and us, we’re all making hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including nuclear [weapons], which is ridiculous,” Trump said in early April.
The president continued: “I think it’s much better if we all got together and we didn’t make these weapons. So I think that’s something that could be a phase two after this [trade war] is done.”
I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018
In December, the president tweeted that he wanted to make a deal with Russia and China to end the “uncontrollable arms race.”
The ambitious plan for promoting non-proliferation clashes with the president’s past approaches to arms control.
Trump announced in February that the US would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. Moscow lambasted the move as a provocation that would lead to a new arms race.
Trump may also struggle to convince the international community that Washington will honor any new arms control agreements. His decision to unilaterally pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran angered many US allies and sparked accusations from Tehran that the US is incapable of keeping its word.