China Pushes Russia, U.S. to cut Nuclear Weapons After Biden, Putin Dismiss war as Option

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to continue a dialogue about the next phase of arms control to reduce the risk of a nuclear war, a safeguard China says should include the slashing of their nuclear arsenals.

Russia and the United States are the largest nuclear powers, making a stable, working relationship important to world order. It was a topic Putin and Biden raised at Wednesday's summit and after the meeting, both world leaders agreed to help reduce the threat because nuclear war must "never be fought" because it "cannot be won."

China called the agreement to engage in bilateral dialogue on strategic stability a "welcomed" development. However, they pushed for both countries to take further action to reduce the number of nuclear weapons they possess.

Russia and the U.S. should "substantively slash their nuclear stockpile in a verifiable, irreversible and legally-binding way to create conditions for the ultimate comprehensive and complete nuclear disarmament," according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

"This is the most effective way to uphold global strategic stability and promote international peace and security," Lijian said.

biden putin nuclear weapons china
China foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called for the U.S. and Russia to slash their nuclear weapons. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a US-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva on June 16. Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Russia, the United States and China, along with the United Kingdom and France, are considered the five nuclear states, and all signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). A landmark international treaty, its objective is to prevent additional countries from acquiring nuclear weapons, and eventually achieve nuclear disarmament.

In embarking on a "strategic stability dialogue," Putin and Biden said in a joint statement that they "seek to lay the groundwork" for future arms control. The goal, according to the Associated Press, is to determine what an arms control treaty should address and ways to avoid moves that could trigger a war.

Zhao said China also has plans to hold discussions on strategic stability, including bilateral dialogues with relevant parties with "mutual respect and on equal footing."

While Zhao's advocating for the U.S. and Russia to decrease its nuclear supply, an editor for China's state media considers the country's nuclear arsenal its best defense. In an op-ed for the Global Times, a state-run media outlet, Hu Xijan said increasing the number of commissioned nuclear warheads is a "cornerstone" of China's deterrence against the United States.

"We must be prepared for an intense showdown between China and the U.S.," Hu wrote. "The number of China's nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes U.S. elites shiver should they entertain the idea of engaging in a military confrontation with China."

China and Russia have grown closer as their relationships with the U.S. deteriorated. Ahead of the summit, China publicly solidified its ties with Russia and the Global Times pushed a Russian official to take a stance on a potential armed conflict between China and the U.S.

However, when asked what side Russia would take in a hypothetical war between China and the U.S., Andrey Denisvo, Russian ambassador to China, said he wouldn't answer it because he didn't believe a war would transpire. If one did, he said it would "exterminate all mankind."