Russia ready to discuss hypersonic missiles with US

China Daily
Wang Xinjuan
2020-04-16 19:16:36
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. [Photo/Agencies]

Russia is open for talks with the United States on how the advanced weapons each is developing, including hypersonic missiles, can be integrated into a more comprehensive agenda for arms control, the country's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Lavrov, in an online interview with Russian and foreign media on Tuesday, said such talks would cover all aspects of arms control and any other factors that may influence what he called the strategic stability in the relationship between the two powers.

The foreign minister said he wanted to speak to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again after receiving a call from his US counterpart a few days ago. In that call, he said, Pompeo touched on the issue of Russia and the US resuming talks on arms reduction measures and the broader strategic stability.

"We welcome such interest from our US partners because we have been encouraging them to address these problems more actively for a long time," Lavrov said.

In August, the US pulled out of a major strategic arms accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, citing Russian noncompliance. Both countries are developing hypersonic missiles to expand their military capabilities.

Reuters reported that such missiles, which fly several times the speed of sound and can be steered in flight, are harder to stop than other generations of weapons. Some experts fear their deployment could trigger a new nuclear arms race.

Last month, the US announced that it had successfully tested an unarmed prototype of a hypersonic missile in a bid to catch up with Russia.

Russia had claimed to be open to talks with the US about the development of new weapons, including the hypersonic missiles. Such discussions should also cover the deployment of weapons in outer space, strategic conventional armaments, the future of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and other issues, Lavrov said.

Responding to a question about what Moscow was seeking from a Russia-US working group on outer space, Lavrov pointed out that the group's formation was the result of a long period of dialogue.

"You know, it is not that we are seeking something. This is simply the result of our dialogue with the United States that has been going on for quite a long time regarding which mechanisms and to solve which world problems both Moscow and Washington consider the most essential, as well as on which of these issues Russian-US interaction can be maximally fruitful," he said.

Russia and the US intend to resume efforts toward achieving strategic stability as a whole more substantively, according to Lavrov, noting this will be possible after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

A Reuters report said Russia is taking steps to mend its ties with the West since the coronavirus emerged as a global threat, as the country has sent medical supplies and equipment to the US and Europe to help them fight the epidemic.

"Right now, we all work remotely. There are things, including some strategic stability points that could be discussed via a video or phone conference painlessly," Lavrov said. "And then there are issues that should better be postponed until the global situation allows us to resume direct diplomatic contact."

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