In this episode, Tong Zhao spoke with Richard Weitz, senior fellow at and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, about U.S., Chinese, and Russian perspectives on nuclear arms control and their relevance to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Weitz said nuclear relations are a fundamental pillar of U.S., Russian, and Chinese triangular relations, and disagreements over nuclear issues have the potential to spill into other areas of cooperation. He listed three priorities for nuclear cooperation: limiting existing nuclear arsenals; stopping proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional countries; and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to non-state actors such as terrorist organizations. Advances in missile defense and the development of hypersonic missile technologies have complicated nuclear stability among the three countries, Weitz argued. However, given hypersonic weapons are still in the early stages of development, this presents a unique opportunity for Moscow, Beijing, and D.C. to come to necessary understandings on norms and regulations for these emergent armaments. Weitz said North Korea remains a fruitful area of cooperation for preventing nuclear proliferation in the trilateral relationship but that the three countries will have to agree on the sequence of sanctions removal and denuclearization. Ongoing U.S.-China tensions differ from the Cold War, Weitz argued, as military escalation is much less of a possibility and primary tensions are a result of economic asymmetries.

Tong Zhao

Tong Zhao is a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, based at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing. His research focuses on strategic security issues, including nuclear weapons strategy, arms control, nonproliferation, missile defense, hypersonic weapons, space security, and other international security issues.

Richard Weitz

Richard Weitz is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute. His current research includes regional security developments relating to Europe, Eurasia, and East Asia as well as U.S. foreign and defense policies.