China is interested in joining a nuclear “pact” with US and Russia to reduce the number of nuclear warheads, US President Donald Trump said.
“We’re talking about a nuclear agreement, where we make less and they make less, and maybe even get rid of the tremendous firepower we have right now,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday, discussing his phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump said he and Putin discussed a possibility of making it a “three-way deal” with China, adding that Beijing “would very much like to be part of that deal.” He had brought up the topic in the ongoing trade talks with the Chinese, and they were “more excited about it than [about] trade.”
Earlier this month, in a meeting with a Chinese trade envoy, Trump bemoaned the levels of military spending by major powers, suggesting all that money could be better spent on other things.
“I think it’s much better if we all got together and we didn’t make these weapons,” he said at the time.
Even as he talks about arms control, however, Trump has backed the $500 billion Obama-era project to modernize the US atomic arsenal, pulled out of the INF arms control treaty with Russia, and updated the US nuclear posture to be more aggressive.
The US is looking at a military budget of $718 billion or more in 2020, more than the next 12 countries combined, thought its national debt has surpassed $22 trillion and is continuing to rise.
China’s 2019 military budget was estimated at $224 billion, and Russia’s was far more modest at $44 billion