China and Arms Control: Not Utopia, but a Reality

China and Arms Control:
Not Utopia, but a Reality

Arbatov A.G.,

Full Member of RAS, Director, Center for International Security, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 73079 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2020.04.04

For citation:

Arbatov A.G. China and Arms Control: Not Utopia, but a Reality. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No. 4. P. 36-54. (In Russ.).


The article discusses the possibility of expanding the formats of control over nuclear weapons in a situation where China opposes the invitation of the United States to join the talks on medium-range missiles, the extension of the START-3 and the next strategic agreement. The economic, political and military importance of Asia-Pacific region is growing rapidly. The relationship between the forces and interests of Russia, China and the United States in this region is analyzed. Particular attention is paid to the nuclear balance of forces in the region – weapons, their development programs and strategic concepts of use, as well as the agenda of US-Chinese and Russian-American relations. According to the author, in a favorable political environment, it is possible to create a trilateral format for arms control in the form of an integrated New START / INF treaty with the participation of Russia, the United States and China. Such a format would provide China with equal strategic status with the two superpowers and their recognition (even by default) of China’s right to parity and stable mutual deterrence. While Russia and the United States, in addition to resolving a number of bilateral stability issues, would receive guarantees of predictability and the limits of building up Chinese strategic and medium-range nuclear and conventional weapons. At the same time, the author emphasizes the need to continue the bilateral negotiation process as the basis for the transition to multilateral arms control. 

international security, China, USA, Russia, Japan, nuclear weapons, arms control, Asia Pacific.


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Content No. 4, 2020

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