US, Russia agree to discuss space security

The United States and Russia will hold talks on security in space next week in Vienna, a State Department official said on Friday. The announcement comes just one day after Washington and London said that Moscow had fired a "space-based anti-satellite weapon" during a satellite test conducted last week.

The talks starting on Monday are due to last several days and will involve experts from both sides. Christopher Ford, the US assistant secretary for international security and non-proliferation, said he hoped the sides would be able to agree on "norms" for outer space actions by states. Ford characterized Russia's activities in space as "strange and dangerous."

The US has become increasingly alarmed by the growing militarization of space by its rivals, Russia and China, particularly the ability of those powers to destroy satellites which are increasingly vital to daily life and the capacities of the armed forces.

The US is conducting parallel meetings on space security with China.

Ford declined to comment on whether US and Russian officials will use next week's meeting to discuss the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), an arms control treaty that is set to expire next year. The US and Russia recently held talks in Vienna on the nuclear weapons treaty and officials indicated more negotiations may follow. The US would like China to join the treaty but Beijing, whose nuclear arsenal significantly dwarfs its rivals, declined.

The US President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, with the White House saying he was keen on "avoiding an expensive three-way arms race between China, Russia, and the United States."

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