Donald Trump has said he wants a new nuclear pact signed by Russia and China.

The president’s comments come after he withdrew the US from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia.

Mr Trump said of the proposed new pact: “I’ve discussed it with President Putin. I’ve also discussed it with China. And I will tell you China was very, very excited about talking about it and so is Russia. So I think we’ll have a deal at some point.”

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For more than three decades, the Cold War-era pact banned land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles.

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But Mr Trump said on Friday the US would quit the INF Treaty, blaming Moscow for violating the agreement with its development and fielding of certain weapons.

US military officials have also said that China’s missiles would have violated the treaty, had they been a signatory.

Then President Ronald Reagan (R) and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev sign the treaty at the White House, on 8 December 1987
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Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan signed the INF Treaty in 1987

China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said neither side could use his country as “an excuse” for the pact’s demise.

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He added: “You know, the United States is saying China should be a party in this disarmament agreement, but I think everybody knows that China is not at the same level with the United States and the Russian Federation.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Rome
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of violating the treaty

Speaking late on Friday, however, Mr Trump said of his proposed new deal: “We’d probably have to put China in there, but right now we’re number one, Russia is number two and China is number three.

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“But China is quite a bit down in terms of nuclear. China’s much lower but we would certainly want to include China at some point.”

Mr Trump has withdrawn the US from a number of deals signed by previous administrations since he took office in 2017, including the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.

The only remaining deal that limits the US and Russian nuclear arsenals is the New START agreement, which expires in 2021, but Mr Trump has previously described this as “just another bad deal” made by his predecessor Barack Obama.

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