Beijing - Beijing said Wednesday that US demands for it to join nuclear disarmament talks with Russia are a ruse to sink the negotiations, but it could take part if Washington lowers its arsenals to China’s level.

US and Russian officials held talks in Vienna last month to discuss a replacement for the New START treaty, which limits each side to 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads but is due to run out in February.

US President Donald Trump has insisted China be included in disarmament talks. China has shown no interest in participating.

Fu Cong, director general of the Department of Arms Control at China’s foreign ministry, said the US pressure is “nothing but a ploy to divert world tension” and “create a pretext under which they can walk away.

“Their real purpose is to get rid of all the restrictions and have a free hand in seeking military superiority over any adversary, real or imagined,” Fu said at a news conference. The US and Russia hold more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.