1. The following are excerpts from an AFP news report, dated 10 April 2019, umder the headline "Pompeo wants China to join Russia in START nuclear treaty".

Washington (AFP) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that China should join in the next START treaty on curbing nuclear warheads as Washington prepares for talks on an extension with Russia.

The New START treaty, which caps the number of nuclear warheads well below Cold War limits, is set to expire in 2021 at a time of high tensions between Russia and the United States...

“It may be that we can’t get there. It may be that we just end up working with the Russians on this. But if we’re talking about a nuclear … capability that presents risks to the United States, it’s very different today in the world,” Pompeo said.

Asked by Senator Jeff Merkley if he was referring to China, Pompeo replied in the affirmative and said that the rising Asian power had expanded its nuclear program....


2. The following is a list of the number of nuclear warheads possessed by each nuclear power.

COUNTRY: SIZE OF ARSENAL

United States: 6,450 warheads
Russia: 6,850 warheads
United Kingdom: 215 warheads
France: 300 warheads
China: 280 warheads
India: 130–140 warheads
Pakistan: 140-150 warheads
Israel: 80 warheads
North Korea: 10-20 warheads


3. Donald Trump likes to talk about "equitable" and "reciprocal", for instance, in trade. It may turn out to be a blessing in disguise if China is forced to join in the next START treaty on curbing nuclear warheads because it can take the opportunity to demand the US to cut down its nuclear arsenal from about 6,450 to about 280 warheads. That would not only be "equitable" and "reciprocal" for both countries, but would also bring about a more peaceful world.

In addition, China must also demand an "enforcement" mechanism to ensure that the US keeps its pledges.