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The US Has Declared A Condition For The Extension Of The STCW

The US Has Declared A Condition For The Extension Of The STCW

The new US special representative for arms control, Marshall Billingslea, said that Russia should "bring China to the negotiating table."

Washington is unlikely to extend the Treaty on Measures for the further Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START III) until China joins the negotiations on arms control. The new US special representative for arms control, Marshall Billingslea, said this in an interview published on Friday with The Washington Times.

Billingslea stressed that Moscow should "bring China to the negotiating table" before thinking about extending the new start. According to the US special representative, if China wants to be a great power, it should behave accordingly and join the negotiations on arms control. "This means joining the negotiations and starting the process of providing more confidence, more openness, more transparency," Billingslea said.

According to him, the American approach to arms control will be "a three-way solution that includes China."

Besides, Billingslea has subjected to the sharp criticism of the new start Treaty. "One of the main drawbacks of the STCW, among other related issues, is that it does not include China. The Treaty doesn't do anything for the US about our concerns about China, it doesn't do anything for the US about our concerns about what Russia is doing, which is a series of destabilizing actions outside the Treaty," the US special representative argued, without specifying what actions are in question.

As the newspaper notes, according to Billingslea, the STCW contains "many obvious shortcomings," and US President Donald Trump is not interested in perpetuating the Treaty approved by his predecessor. "The administration of Obama agreed on a very weak verification regime. It is very far from the content of the original Treaty on the reduction of strategic offensive arms, it has significant loopholes in the question of how verification is carried out in practice, which Russia used. This kind of behavior should be stopped," Billingslea argued, without specifying what he meant.

According to him, the new arms control treaty between the United States, China, and the Russian Federation, which Washington seeks, should be binding and contain provisions that are implemented and subject to verification.

"We want to understand why Russia is so desperate to extend [the NPA], we want the Russians to explain why it is in our interests," Billingslea added, when asked whether Trump had decided to extend the Treaty.

Billingslea also noted that the United States in any negotiations "is not going to allow anything to include or exclude [from the agreement] these [new Russian] weapons systems." "They should just curtail these [five new] programs and abandon them, "the US special representative said, referring to the Kinzhal, Sarmat, and Avangard missile systems, the Poseidon ocean multi-purpose system and the Petrel nuclear-powered cruise missile.

The STCW was signed by Russia and the United States in 2010. The agreement remains in force for 10 years (until February 5, 2021), unless replaced by a subsequent agreement before that date. The document can be extended for no more than five years, that is, until 2026, by mutual consent of the parties.

Moscow calls on Washington not to delay the decision on the extension of the Treaty and describes it as the gold standard in the field of disarmament. Answering a question from TASS on November 4, 2019, Trump assured that the United States would like to conclude a new arms control agreement with Russia, China, and possibly several other countries. The head of the White House did not answer an additional question about whether the US would like to extend the STCW. The State Department has previously stated that the United States wants to engage in the same strategic stability dialogue with China as it does with Russia, despite Beijing's refusal to participate in arms control negotiations.

In April, Trump established the post of his special representative for arms control and appointed Marshall Billingslea to it. In early May, the US President also nominated Billingslea for the position of under Secretary of state for arms control and international security.

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