The Biden administration is considering a proposal to exchange missile launch notifications with China, an Asian media outlet reported.
A senior State Department official told Nikkei Asia that the administration hopes to hold talks on arms control with China early next year, and that launch notification is one of the measures under consideration.
"The reason launch notification is so important is because we would have a reciprocal obligation to clarify what we're doing," the official told Nikkei Asia. "The fact that China has it with Russia demonstrates they appreciated the significance of the stabilizing nature. That's what we are trying to build on."
The official added that a similar bilateral pact between the U.S. and Russia, known as the Ballistic Missile Launch Notification Agreement, would be a model for a U.S.-China notification framework, Nikkei Asia reported.
Newsweek reported that it had emailed the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House seeking further information and comment.
A former senior Pentagon official for China told Nikkei Asia that China's participation in arms control talks could be a "double-edged sword."
"[W]ith the growth of China's overall, comprehensive, national power, and certainly their own military capacities, defense and security capacities ... they now have the confidence to be able to sit down across the table from the United States,” said Chad Sbragia, a research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses.
"With equal capacities or near-equal capacities ... they can now engage in those things because they're confident that they're not bargaining or negotiating from a weaker position."
James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Nikkei Asia that the U.S. should gauge China's position on the missile notifications by making a specific and detailed proposal.
"While it's difficult to be optimistic, I believe a launch notification agreement would be in the interests of both China and the United States," Acton said. "One important step is for each state to identify behavior that it would find particularly threatening and might spark escalation. Agreements, such as a launch notification regime or to regulate satellite operations, would also be helpful."
One challenge in setting agenda items for talks with Beijing is that some Chinese officials are not authorized to address specifics.
The news of a potential U.S.-China missile launch notification agreement comes after President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in San Francisco last month.
The two leaders, in their first face-to-face meeting in a year, vowed to stabilize their fraught relationship and showcase modest agreements to combat illegal fentanyl and re-establish military communications.
Charlie McCarthy ✉
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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