06:23 GMT18 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - China likely saw the US offer to join arms control talks with Washington and Moscow as potentially insulting if not delusional given the imbalance across current arsenals, analysts told Sputnik.

    US President Donald Trump told reporters last week after a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he would soon launch bilateral talks with Moscow on a new nuclear arms control deal that could eventually include China.

    On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing will not become part of any talks on a new trilateral nuclear arrangement with Russia and the United States.

    Insulting Terms

    Former Pentagon analyst Karen Kwiatkowski told Sputnik that the way the so-called invitation came across may have something to do with Beijing’s reaction.

    "The response by the Chinese sounds like they feel insulted, pointing out that China conducts itself and expects great powers with nuclear weapons to all conduct themselves with restraint", Kwiatkowski said.

    READ MORE: No Thanks: China Dismisses Notion That It Will Join Russia, US in Nuclear Talks

    Kwiatkowski said China’s response appeared highly stylized and almost ritualistic.

    "It was a somewhat fake response to a somewhat fake invitation. Since states don't have emotions… Trump has probably purposely and/or stylistically insulted Xi Jinping on issues of Chinese trade and labor practices, military prowess, expansionist agendas in the region [and] North Korea", she said.

    The latest invitation came across rather as a superior power summoning an inferior one – a role China did not recognize and was not prepared to play to Washington, Kwiatkowski explained.

    Beijing felt it was "being summoned like a third wheel to a trilateral table relating to security policy," the former Pentagon analyst added.

    US policymakers needed to abandon their efforts to put and keep China in a subservient role and return to more open trade policies, Kwiatkowski advised.

    China's own system was now at great financial and economic risk because its domestic policies were unsustainable and wasteful, Kwiatkowski commented.

    "To make this work, Trump would need to show some public respect to China's role in the world, and perhaps let them lead a dance once in a while", she said.

    READ MORE: Moscow: INF Collapse Casts Shadow Over New START Treaty Extension

    Political commentator and historian Dan Lazare agreed that China was acting in a straightforward manner and was sincere in its decision not to want to join the US-proposed nuclear negotiations.

    "I see no reason why the statement by China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang shouldn't be taken at face value", Lazare told Sputnik.

    Stop the War Machine Co-Director Robert L. Anderson, who is also a director of the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space said China’s rejection of Trump’s offer had to be seen in the context of its long negative history with hostile powers over many centuries.

    "China is probably tired of being dominated by various foreign imperial empires in their long history", Anderson told Sputnik.

    Reality Check

    In February, the United States formally suspended its obligations under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and triggered the six-month withdrawal process citing allegations of Russian violations.

    Moscow, in turn, withdrew its obligations from the treaty, pointing out US violations in deploying potential offensive weapons that fall within banned ranges within Russia’s periphery.

    China has little reason to join talks given Washington cannot be trusted along with a massive disparity between its arsenal and those of the United States and Russia, the analysts said.

    Lazare pointed out that China has 280 nuclear warheads, just two percent of the US-Russian total.

    "So three-way talks with China make no more sense than three-way talks with France (which has 300 nuclear warheads), Britain (which has 215), Pakistan (145), or India (135)", Lazare said.

    READ MORE: Moscow Rules Out Destroying 9M729 Missile Complexes, Says They Fit INF Treaty

    Moreover, he added, China is under growing economic strain.

    "Its [China’s] high-growth, a high-export economic model is collapsing under the weight of mounting debt levels and slowing international trade", Lazare explained.

    If China’s economic model goes then the accompanying social contract will go with it and the result will be deep political turmoil, Lazare warned.

    "[Chinese President] Xi Jinping figures that this is not the time to rock the boat with regard to nuclear weapons — or allow Trump to rock it either", Lazare concluded.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of teh speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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