US Convenes Nuclear Weapons Meeting with China, France, Russia, UK

Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ronald Gutridge/Handout via REUTERS
An unarmed Trident II D5 missile is test-launched from the Ohio-class U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska off the coast of California, U.S. March 26, 2018.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States this month convened a meeting of working-level experts from China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom to discuss nuclear weapons issues including strategic risk reduction, the State Department said.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the talks were part of “a routine, continuing dialog.”

The department said in a statement on Friday that Washington hosted the meeting on June 13-14 in Cairo among the five nuclear weapons states, describing it as “an ongoing exchange in the context of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”

The experts were drawn from the countries’ respective ministries of foreign affairs and defense, the department said. They “discussed strategic risk reduction, as well as nuclear doctrines and policy,” it added.

The NPT, which took effect in 1970, aims to halt the spread of nuclear weapons-making capability and guarantee the right of members to develop nuclear energy for peace means.

The treaty allowed the five nuclear weapons states – who are the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – to keep their nuclear arsenals.

A State Department spokesperson said expert representatives had also met in Dubai in February as part of the dialog under the NPT, which the United States is currently chairing.

“We found both multilateral conversations to be professional and useful,” the spokesperson said in an emailed response that did not address the question of whether any bilateral talks took place.