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U.S. and China Hold First Informal Nuclear Talks in Five Years

US and China Nuclear Talks

U.S. and China Engage in Semiofficial Nuclear Talks for the First Time in Five Years

In a significant diplomatic development, the United States and China recently held semi-official talks on nuclear arms, marking their first such engagement in five years. The discussions, which took place in March, saw representatives from Beijing reassuring their American counterparts that they had no intention of resorting to nuclear threats regarding Taiwan, according to sources familiar with the talks.

The talks, organized under Track Two diplomacy, involved scholars and former officials who possess deep insights into their respective government’s policies. David Santoro, overseeing the U.S. delegation, reported that Chinese representatives conveyed their confidence in achieving success in a conventional conflict over Taiwan without needing to resort to nuclear weapons.

The U.S. delegation, comprising former officials and scholars, engaged in the two-day discussions hosted at a Shanghai hotel conference room. Conversely, Beijing dispatched a team of analysts, including former officers from the People’s Liberation Army.

While the U.S. State Department acknowledged awareness of the discussions, it clarified that Track Two talks, although beneficial, cannot substitute formal negotiations that require authoritative representation from government officials.

These discussions come amidst strained relations between the two nuclear-armed nations, exacerbated by economic and geopolitical disputes. Despite resuming Track One nuclear talks briefly in November, formal negotiations have since stalled, highlighting challenges in bilateral relations.

The Pentagon’s concerns over China’s nuclear arsenal growth underscored tensions, particularly regarding Taiwan, where Beijing has intensified military activities amid its stance on reunification.

The Track Two talks, part of a longstanding dialogue on nuclear policies and posture spanning two decades, had faced interruptions following funding cuts in 2019 but resumed amid broader security and energy discussions after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite challenges and frustrations during the recent talks, both delegations expressed a commitment to continuing dialogue, with plans for further discussions in 2025.

Nuclear policy analysts emphasized the importance of sustained dialogue between the U.S. and China, especially in addressing nuclear arms issues during periods of strained relations.

U.S. and China Hold First Informal Nuclear Talks in Five Years

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