China preempted the scheduled summit meeting between US Presidents Joe Biden and Russian Vladimir Putin in Geneva by calling on the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals.
In his speech Friday via video link to the United Nations-sponsored Arms Control Conference in Geneva, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that “any new reductions in the two countries’ nuclear arsenals will help multilateral nuclear disarmament.”
The Chinese minister also strongly criticized the United States, saying, “China opposes the development and deployment of regional and global missile defense systems by a particular country that undermines strategic stability, and China opposes the deployment of medium-range ballistic missiles on land by the same country in the vicinity of other countries.”
“To get back to the agreement, lifting sanctions on Iran first is the natural thing to do,” he added. He noted that talks between Iran and the United States aimed at reviving the agreement had entered a “final stage” in Vienna, adding that the parties to the agreement should intensify diplomatic efforts to “put the agreement back on track.”
For his part, the US envoy for disarmament affairs, Robert Wood, used his speech at the Geneva conference to urge China to participate in bilateral talks on risk reduction, and Wood said, “So far, China has rejected US efforts to start bilateral talks on risk reduction and strategic stability.” .
It is noteworthy that the Biden administration had previously announced that the United States intends to confront the growing influence and military power of China in the Asia-Pacific region.