Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Hal Brands

China Has No Reason to Make a Deal on Nuclear Weapons

But the Trump administration is right that dealing only with Russia makes no sense.

Loading up on nukes. 

Loading up on nukes. 

Photographer: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has informed his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that any future agreement on nuclear-arms control between the U.S. and Russia must also include China. This shift to trilateral negotiations is part of the Trump administration’s effort to remake great-power arms control for a new era.

It’s a reasonable approach, which accurately holds that the old bilateral formula has become disconnected from reality. Whether the U.S. can build the leverage necessary to make this new approach succeed — particularly vis-à-vis China — is far less certain.