US President Donald Trump aims for major nuclear deal with Russia, China: Report

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at an annual meeting on April 26, 2019, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo b...

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at an annual meeting on April 26, 2019, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump is aiming for a grand nuclear deal with Russia and China as the White House has engaged in intense talks to develop options for the American head of state to pursue the initiative, according to a US media report.

US administration officials told CNN on Friday that the White House was conducting intense inter-agency talks to develop options for Trump to pursue a major arms control deal after the New START Treaty, which expires in 2021.

"The President has made clear that he thinks that arms control should include Russia and China and should include all the weapons, all the warheads, all the missiles", a senior White House official told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We have an ambition to give the President options as quickly as possible to give him as much space on the calendar as possible," the official added.

The Trump administration has not set out a timeline for negotiations over the new nuclear arms control deal or even raised the prospect with China and Russia.

"What the President wants to look at is, we should bring all of those weapons under control," the official said. "We should eliminate as many of them as possible, we should look to eliminate classes of weapons."

The New START treaty, signed in 2010, limits both the US and Russia to deploying 1,550 nuclear warheads over 700 delivery systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers.

The treaty is set to expire in 2021 but could be extended for up to five years if the two sides agree.The US president has publicly expressed support for the idea of limiting or reducing the world’s nuclear arsenals over the past months.

During a meeting with Chinese vice premier Liu He in the Oval Office in early April, Trump said that he thinks Moscow and Beijing would "come along" on a nuclear deal and that it could happen after the US and China complete trade negotiations.

"I think it's much better if we all got together and we didn't make these weapons," Trump said. "As you know, China is spending a lot of money on military. So are we. So is Russia. And those three countries, I think, can come together and stop the spending and spend on things that maybe are more productive toward long-term peace."

Trump also said in a tweet in December last year that he wanted to make a deal with Russia and China to end the “uncontrollable arms race.”

In February, the US president announced that Washington would unilaterally withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), pointing towards Russia’s 9M729 cruise missile, which American officials claim violates the existing limitations.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations that the missile violates the 1987 accord.

The INF banned all land-based missiles with ranges of 500 kilometers (310 miles) to 5,500 miles. The original ban between Moscow and Washington led to the elimination of 2,692 missiles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, suspending Moscow’s participation in the nuclear arms treaty in response.

Moscow has urged the US to work towards preserving the deal against violations, warning that a withdrawal from the accord would trigger a nuclear arms race.

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