Triangularity of nuclear arms control: Possible implications of China's involvement in nuclear arms talks


  • Alexander G. Savelyev


China, the United States, New START, Russia, nuclear arms control, China's nuclear doctrine, nuclear disarmament, no-first-use principle


Beijing explains its firm unwillingness to join the United States and Russia in nuclear arms
control talks by the fact that China’s nuclear arsenal is incomparable with respective potentials
of the world’s two leading nuclear powers. China urges Russia and the U.S. to go ahead with
the nuclear disarmament process on a bilateral basis, and promises it will be prepared to
consider the possibility of its participation in the negotiations only when its counterparts have
downgraded their arsenals approximately to China’s level. Washington finds this totally
unacceptable and demands that China either join the existing Russian-U.S. strategic New
START treaty right away or agree to enter into a trilateral nuclear arms control format. This
article studies the prospects of China’s involvement in nuclear arms talks and analyzes the
true reasons behind Beijing’s desire to avoid any nuclear disarmament deals at this point. The
working hypothesis of this paper is that China’s stance on the above issue is by no means farfetched or propagandistic, and that it is driven by fundamental political, military and strategic
considerations. Disregard for this factor and further forceful efforts to bring China to the
negotiating table to discuss nuclear arms control will lead to failure.


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Author Biography

Alexander G. Savelyev

Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Moscow, Russian Federation




How to Cite

G. Savelyev, A. . (2021). Triangularity of nuclear arms control: Possible implications of China’s involvement in nuclear arms talks. AEI Insights, 7(1), 7–17. Retrieved from