04:12 GMT28 February 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Trump administration is preparing to begin talks with Russia about the next level of arms control agreements, United States Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said during an event at the Heritage Foundation.

    "I know that our administration is preparing to begin talks with Russia and make an effort to bring China in for the next level of arms control agreements", Hutchison said on Thursday in response to a question about what would the implications to NATO be if the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is not extended.

    Hutchison highlighted that China is becoming a concern because of global presence through its Belt and Road Initiative in addition to its nuclear weapons capabilities.

    On Wednesday, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said the United States and Russia will launch talks on nuclear arms control issues in the near future.

    The New START is the last remaining arms control treaty in force between Russia and the United States and is set to expire in February 2021.

    The Trump administration has said it has a sufficient amount of time to determine whether it will extend the treaty or let it expire next February. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reiterated that Russia wants to extend the New START as soon as possible, but without preconditions.

    NATO, nuclear, United States, Russia
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