China Condemns US Plan to Expand Nuclear Capabilities

China Condemns US Plan to Expand Nuclear Capabilities

Sunday, 4 February, 2018 - 10:00
China slammed Washington's plan to expand its nuclear capabilities. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
China condemned on Sunday the United States’ recently revealed plan to expand its nuclear capabilities, saying that it should abandon its “Cold War mentality.”

“Peace and development are irreversible global trends. The United States, the country that owns the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, should take the initiative to follow the trend instead of going against it,” said China’s Ministry of Defense in a statement.

Washington published a document on Friday outlining plans to expand its nuclear capabilities to deter others.

The review of US nuclear policy has already riled Russia, which viewed the document as confrontational, and raised fears that it could increase the risk of miscalculation between the two countries.

The US military has put countering China and Russia, dubbed “revisionist powers”, at the center of a new national defense strategy unveiled earlier this month.

By expanding its own low-yield nuclear capability, the US would deter Russia from using nuclear weapons, say American officials.

China accused the United States of “presumptuous speculation” about China’s intentions, and said it has always adopted a restrained attitude towards the development of nuclear weapons and kept its nuclear forces to a minimum.

It pledged never to be the first to use nuclear weapons "under any circumstances."

“We hope that the United States will abandon its Cold War mentality, earnestly assume its special disarmament responsibilities, correctly understand China’s strategic intentions and objectively view China’s national defense and military build-up...,” the ministry said in the statement posted on its website.

The sweeping US nuclear strategy said Washington wants to prevent Beijing from mistakenly concluding that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is acceptable.

It called on the US to work together with China and for their armies to become a stabilizing factor in Sino-US relations and in the region.

The ruling Communist Party's military wing, the People's Liberation Army, has the world's fifth-largest nuclear arsenal, with 300 warheads, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The United States and Russia each have about 7,000 warheads, or about 20 times as many as Beijing.

Beijing has rattled Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian governments with increasingly assertive gestures and belligerent comments aimed at enforcing its claims to disputed islands and swathes of ocean.

In December, China sent bombers and fighter planes to fly around Taiwan, the self-ruled island the communist mainland claims as its territory. The warplanes flew near South Korean and Japanese air space, prompting Japan to dispatch fighter jets to intercept them.

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