Putin Open to Military Alliance between Russia, China

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he is open to the idea of establishing a military alliance between Russia and China, but not for the time being.
Speaking during a videoconference with members of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Moscow-based think tank and discussion forum, Putin said on Thursday as quoted by AA that while such an alliance is not being currently considered, it cannot be ruled out.
He recalled that Russia and China hold joint military exercises on a regular basis and had achieved great success in military cooperation -- not only in terms of sales and purchases of weapons but also in the sharing of technologies, including in sensitive areas.
"We have always assumed that our relations have reached such a level of interaction and trust that we generally do not need it, but in theory, it is quite possible to imagine this [military alliance].
"How it will develop further, life will show. We do not set such a task for ourselves now, but in principle, we are not going to rule it out. We'll see. In any case, we are happy with the current state of relations between Russia and China in this area," the president said.
Turning to the possible joining of China in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between Russia and the US, Putin said Russia supports the idea, but it is up to the US, as an initiator of the idea, to invite China to the negotiations.
Putin also noted that the pact suggests freezing the growth of the nuclear arsenals within stated limits, but at the moment, Chinese capabilities are far less than those limits and it can only "freeze inequality."
He also stressed that not only China should sign the treaty but also other nuclear states, including those not having the official status of a nuclear power.
As for Russia, Moscow is not fighting for the opportunity to expand the terms of the treaty but considers it reasonable to preserve at least one arms control tool.
The first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START I, signed in 1991 between the US and the USSR, took effect in 1994.
The New START treaty, signed in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, sets a limit of no more than 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 missiles, including inspections to verify compliance with the deal.