The US State Department on Tuesday published the country’s number of nuclear weapons for the first time in four years, after former President Donald Trump blacked out the data.
As of September 30, 2020, the US military maintains 3,750 active and inactive nuclear weapons, down from 55 a year earlier and 72 from the same date in 2017.
The figure was also the lowest level since the peak of US nuclear stockpiles at the height of the Cold War with Russia in 1967, when it had a total of 31,255 weapons.
The numbers were released on Tuesday amid an effort by President Joe Biden’s administration to restart arms control talks with Russia after stalling under Trump.
“Increasing transparency of states’ nuclear stockpile is critical to non-proliferation and disarmament efforts,” the State Department said in a statement.
Trump, who pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia, also left the New Beginning Treaty, another key agreement on the rocks, last year before its scheduled expiration on February 5. .
New Start limits the number of nuclear weapons Washington and Moscow have, and letting it expire could reverse the warship shortages on both sides.
Trump said he wants a new deal that includes China, which has only a fraction of the warships the United States and Russia own.
Biden, who came into office on January 20, immediately proposed a five-year extension to New Start, which was quickly accepted by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The deal raises the number of nuclear warheads that Moscow and Washington can deploy to 1,550.
Last week in Geneva, Russian and US diplomats held talks behind closed doors to begin discussions on a successor to New Start and control of conventional weapons.
A US official described the talks as “productive”, but both sides said the fact that the talks were being held was only positive.
According to a January 2021 tally by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which includes retired warheads – not counted in the State Department’s numbers – the United States had 5,550 warheads compared to 6,255 in Russia, 350 in China, 225 in Britain . and 290 in France.
According to the institute, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea together have about 460 nuclear warheads.
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