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Trump says he’s spoken with China and Russia about nuclear pact

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin give a joint news conference following their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. (Mikhail Metzel/Tass/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Donald Trump said he’s spoken recently with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with China’s leaders about a new nuclear weapons accord, on the day that a 1987 pact with the Kremlin that limits intermediate-range weapons expired.

Trump said Thursday that he believes Putin would like to reach a new accord to limit Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals. “They get rid of some, we get rid of some,” he told reporters Friday, adding that China would also need to be involved. Both countries are excited about the prospect, he said.

“It would be a great thing for the world,” he told reporters as he departed the White House on Friday for his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort, adding that it would save the countries money on defense spending.

The U.S. withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty earlier this year after accusing Russia of violating the accord. The treaty expired Friday; senior administration officials said the U.S. military would soon begin testing conventional weapons that would have violated the pact.

Arms-control experts fear the U.S. and Russia may let a more extensive treaty, New START, expire after 2021 without a replacement, which could lead to a new arms race between the countries.

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© 2019 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.