11:16 GMT15 July 2020
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    Following a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, US President Donald Trump indicated the two countries are ready to discuss arms control agreements.

    Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday he and Putin were both interested in discussion new arms control agreements.

    "We are talking about arms control with Russia and we will go forward with that and we are talking about it very seriously," Trump said. "They'd like to do it and we'd like to do it."

    Earlier in the day, the White House released a statement about their phone call, saying, “President Trump reaffirmed that the United States is committed to effective arms control that includes not only Russia, but also China, and looks forward to future discussions to avoid a costly arms race."

    This mirrors what US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last month after the latter indicated a willingness to discuss extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which expires next year. The agreement limits the number of different types of nuclear weapons the US and Russia may construct.

    While the US and Russia each control thousands of nuclear weapons, China is believed to have just 300 - enough only to deter attack, according to Beijing.

    No mention was made, however, of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty abandoned by the United States last year amid claims Russia had broken the agreement. Since the treaty officially lapsed in August 2019, the US has pushed ahead with a series of missiles with ranges that would violate the INF Treaty were it still in effect.

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    Tags:
    INF Treaty, Strategic Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), arms control, United States, Russia
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