WASHINGTON: The chief of US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) visited China last month for talks with Chinese counterparts, an official in Washington said on Friday as the Biden administration seeks to boost communications with Beijing.
“Last month, Director (William) Burns travelled to Beijing where he met with Chinese counterparts and emphasised the importance of maintaining open lines of communication in intelligence channels,” the official said.
The visit by the head of the intelligence agency, first reported by the Financial Times, comes as President Joe Biden’s administration has been pressing to maintain open lines and schedule meetings between various top officials in Washington and Beijing amid tense relations.
Ties between the world’s two largest economies have been strained over issues ranging from Taiwan and China’s human rights record to military activity in the South China Sea.
Washington says it doesn’t need to boost its nuclear arsenal to deter Moscow and Beijing
Meanwhile, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday the United States does not believe it needs to increase the size of its own nuclear arsenal in order to deter the combined forces of Russia, China and other rivals,.
He also said the United States would abide by the nuclear weapons limits set in the New START treaty until its 2026 expiration if Russia does the same. Sullivan made the remarks in a speech in which he sought to coax Moscow and Beijing into arms control talks.
“The United States does not need to increase our nuclear forces to outnumber the combined total of our competitors in order to successfully deter them,” Sullivan told the Arms Control Association, the oldest US arms control advocacy group.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February Moscow was suspending participation in New START, the last remaining pact limiting US and Russian strategic nuclear arms.
“While claiming to suspend New START, Russia has also publicly committed to adhere to the treaty’s central limits, indicating a potential willingness to continue limiting strategic nuclear forces through 2026. We agree,” Sullivan said.
“It is in neither of our countries interests to embark on an open-ended competition in strategic forces and we are prepared to stick to the central limits as long as Russia does, he said.
“Rather than waiting to resolve all of our bilateral differences, the United States is ready to engage Russia now to manage nuclear risks and develop a post-2026 arms control framework.”
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2023