The United States and Russia step forward to renew the only arms control treaty

The new strategic arms reduction treaty, the only arms control treaty between the United States and Russia, was renewed on the 20th, one year later. Russia agreed on the same day that both sides would freeze the number of all nuclear warheads in exchange for a one-year extension of the treaty, which was positively responded by the United States. However, some Western experts and media worry that the renewal of the treaty will face difficulties such as how to verify it. They also questioned the political self-interest of US President Donald Trump in pushing for a renewal before the election. US State Department spokesman Morgan altags said in a statement on the same day that “we appreciate” the attitude of the Russian side. The US side “is ready to meet immediately to reach a verifiable agreement” and “we hope that the Russian side will authorize diplomats to do the same thing”. Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “Russia proposes to renew the START treaty for one year, and is willing to make a political commitment with the United States to” freeze “the number of nuclear warheads held by both sides during this period.” The new strategic arms reduction treaty signed by then US President Barack Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 is the only arms control treaty between the two countries. The treaty will expire on February 5 next year, but it can be extended for up to five years after consultations between the two countries. The United States has recently proposed a one-year extension of the treaty and also called for the extension of the scope of nuclear warheads. The original treaty only restricted the strategic nuclear warheads of the United States and Russia, but the United States hopes to limit the warheads installed on battlefield weapons, namely tactical nuclear warheads. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that the US proposal to limit both tactical and strategic nuclear warheads is unacceptable unless the US withdraws the warheads from Europe first. Russian President Vladimir Putin last week proposed an unconditional extension of the Treaty for at least one year. Robert O’Brien, assistant to the president for national security affairs, responded that any proposal not to ask for a freeze on tuberculosis warheads was “not going to work.”. On 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 believed that the treaty was “flawed” and “not conducive to the United States”, and it was not until this year that he began to discuss the renewal of the treaty with Russia. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the arms control association of the United States, believes that the US Russian commitment to freeze warheads within one year is “politically binding” and, if combined with the one-year renewal of the START treaty, “may be an effective way to build confidence.”. “This may be a step in the right direction to temporarily reverse the all-round arms race,” Kimball said, adding that the United States and Russia have more time to negotiate a new nuclear arms control treaty. However, according to the respective statements of the United States and Russia, the media infer that the two countries may face the problem of “how to verify the other party’s compliance with the freezing commitment”. Lavrov last week explicitly rejected the US side’s request for verification, that is, as in the 1990s, experts from the two countries would inspect each other’s missile factories. There is no such provision in existing treaties. Jon wolfstad, a former Obama administration official, believes that there is no breakthrough when the United States and Russia intend to negotiate to renew the contract. The verification method proposed by the trump administration is more stringent, requiring the US side to be allowed to follow the Russian warhead from the factory. Frank Ross, another Obama administration official and Brookings Institution analyst, believes that there are many important issues in negotiating such an agreement within two weeks from the November 3 presidential election day, “we should not rush to discuss such an important matter.”. At present, the associated press has tried to boost Trump’s diplomatic achievements. Reuters quoted some experts as saying that trump intends to renew the treaty, just to achieve another “diplomatic achievement” before the election.