U.S. Senators call for US/China nuclear weapons talks

NFU banner outside china embassy

PNND Co-President Senator Ed Markey and the other co-chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group call for direct Biden-Xi nuclear talks.

Photo: Don't even think abaout starting a nuclear war sign outside China Embassy in Prague.

PNND Co-President Senator Ed Markey and the three other co-chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group (Rep. Garamendi, Senator Merkley, and Rep. Beyer), wrote to President Joe Biden last week urging him to make nuclear risk reduction measures with China a top priority in his upcoming summit with Xi Jinping, leader of the People’s Republic of China.

The letter comes one day after the Department of Defense released its 2021 Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, which found that China is expanding its nuclear weapons and missile programs. 

“We applaud your Administration’s efforts to seek cooperation with Beijing on the existential threats posed by the climate crisis” says the letter. “We hope that you will extend those conversations to include seeking cooperation on the existential threat of nuclear weapons. At your upcoming virtual bilateral meeting with Xi, we ask that you propose practical steps to reduce nuclear weapons risks with China.”
The letter recommends five practical proposals:
1.    Invite China, and other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to observe a United States-Russia New START Treaty on-site inspection.
2.    Seek negotiations toward a treaty or agreement that stops the additional production of fissile material.
3.    Seek an agreement with China that allows for advance notifications of ballistic missile launches, through the Hague Code of Conduct.
4.    Seek an agreement not to target or interfere in nuclear command, control, and communications (commonly referred to as ‘‘NC3’’) infrastructure.
5.    Seek an agreement on transparency measures or verifiable limits, or both, on hypersonic cruise missiles and glide vehicles that are mounted on ballistic missiles.

For more details see Senator Markey’s press release  and the joint letter.

In July, the Nuclear Weapons Arms Control Working Group led 18 of their colleagues in calling on President Biden to actively guide the formation of the Department of Defense-led Nuclear Posture Review in order to ensure that the policy review reflects his historic leadership in reducing nuclear weapons risks. See the July letter to President Biden.