World Bulletin/News Desk
China will lead talks among the five original nuclear-armed states to define arms control terms, the group said on Friday, a first for Beijing and a step that might ultimately bring greater clarity about its nuclear arsenal and strategy.
A working group of the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China is expected to launch talks this summer on a glossary of nuclear terms, an arcane but necessary step for wider talks on disarmament.
Of the five original nuclear-weapons states within the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, China is the most secretive about its arsenal, its stockpile of fissile material and its nuclear doctrine, analysts say.
Under the treaty, which entered into force in 1970, the five committed to pursuing disarmament while the other signatories committed not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons.
Rose Gottemoeller, the acting U.S. under secretary of state arms control and international security, said the United States and Russia have a far better grasp of each other's nuclear posture than they do of China's.
China's leadership of the so-called P5 group, described in a statement issued by the five nations on Friday at the end of a three-day conference, could signal its greater interest in cooperating on these issues.
A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said this was the first time China had chaired such a P5 group on nuclear issues.
"It's a very good step," Gottemoeller told Reuters. "The fact that they are shouldering the responsibilities for this working group, I think, is a good sign of their interest of developing more mutual cooperation of this kind, leading to greater predictability and greater mutual confidence."
Gottemoeller stressed the group's aim was to achieve greater openness about all five countries' programs.
"(For) over 40 years with the Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation we have been talking about important issues of nuclear doctrine, strategy and then some of the technical nitty-gritty that goes into an arms control treaty," she said.
"We really have a lot of history with the Russian Federation but certainly with China, we do not have that same depth."
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association nonprofit group, said the United States has been the most transparent about its nuclear capabilities and Britain, France, Russia and especially China "have a long way to go."
"China ... has been the least forthcoming," he said. "With transparency comes greater knowledge, greater understanding and more stability, more predictable reactions (by) others."
According to Arms Control Association estimates, the United States has about 5,000 warheads, Russia 5,500, China about 240, France fewer than 300 and Britain up to 225.
Stephen Rademaker, a former senior State Department official under President George W. Bush, said the United States may hope that the talks on definitions could be a first step toward greater clarity on China's capabilities.
"The United States for a long time has tried to initiate a comprehensive dialogue with China about nuclear matters and, unfortunately, China has resisted discussing those kinds of issues in any level of detail," he said.
"I am sure that the United States hopes that as part of this ... process, the kinds of conversations that have not ... made much progress bilaterally can finally begin," he added.
Some Arab media had recently claimed that the bank had already been controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and some of Libya's militant movements
The first H5N8 case in Germany was confirmed on Nov. 4 on a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Some 5,000 birds were infected by the disease, of which 1,880 died.
Filling Tirana's main street, they carried banners protesting against lack of jobs, tax rises and what would amount to a rise of electricity prices next year.
High-speed trains were halted, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage from the quake
Benhabyles said the migrants would be airlifted to the southern province of Tamanrasset before they are asked to cross the border back into Niger
Authorities in Tanzania have ordered the eviction of 40,000 Masai people so their ancestral home can be turned into a hunting ground for Dubai royals.
No new idea or remarkable proposal has come from the world powers’ group, the P5+1, yet during talks over Iran’s nuclear issue, says Iranian minister
Search for missing 4-month-old continues along river in North Sumatra province after parents lose lives
This is the first meeting is to be held between al-Subaihi and Corman since the appointment of the former as defense minister in the current Yemeni government.
Peshmerga spokesman Brigadier General Halgurd Hikmat confirmed that Turkish soldiers had started special forces training with peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq
Barhoum described the accusations leveled against the Qassam Brigades as "false", which – according to him – aim at defaming Hamas and its military wing.
Demonstrators also demanded the expulsion of armed militias from Sanaa, in reference to Shiite Houthi militants who have seized control of the capital in September.
The majority of the deaths, 785, were ISIL fighters according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The bodies of the men from the Albu Fahd tribe were discovered after the army launched a counter-offensive against the ISIL in a village on the eastern edge of Ramadi
His comments stepped up Moscow's war of words with the United States and the European Union in their worst diplomatic standoff since the Cold War ended.
Though murdered revolutionary folk hero Sankara's body was placed in an unmarked grave, it is believed to be buried in a cemetery in the capital Ouagadougou's Dagnoen neighbourhood.