Beijing follows the line of Moscow and Washington and, although it signs against the proliferation of atomic weapons, it has no intention of stopping its production. One day after the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council issued a joint statement in which they pledged to avoid a nuclear war – which “cannot be won and must not be fought,” the text reads – China has left It is clear this Tuesday that it will continue to modernize its nuclear weapons for defensive purposes and has asked the United States and Russia to take the first step by reducing their arsenals. The statements of the Asian giant come after 2021 in which the country exhibited military muscle on several occasions, and in which suspicion over the nuclear rearmament of the superpowers soared.
“As for the assertions made by US officials that China is drastically increasing its nuclear capabilities, let me say, firstly, that it is false,” Fu Cong, director general of the department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. Last summer, US media reported the construction of new silos for the launch of ICBMs. Shortly after, news broke of two trials of nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons. Fu has responded to these criticisms by pointing out that China’s arsenal should not be estimated based on satellite photos.
“The US and Russia have 90% of the nuclear warheads on Earth,” the senior Chinese official emphasized. “China has always adopted the policy of not being the first to use them, and we keep our nuclear capabilities to the minimum level necessary to guarantee our national security,” said Fu, adding that “China will continue to modernize its nuclear arsenal for reasons reliability and safety ”.
Nuclear weapons became one of the main risks to international security when, in 1949, the Soviet Union announced publicly that it had this type of weapon, although humanity already knew of their destructive power from the display of power of the United States. UU in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The arms race that Washington and Moscow started during the Cold War, however, did not culminate in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Other countries have joined that bilateral tug-of-war in recent decades, and the United States is especially concerned about the unstoppable pace with which the modernization process of the Chinese Army is advancing; The Asian giant has been on its heels for years and is already the second country in the world with the highest military spending, according to the Stockholm International Peace Studies Institute (SIPRI).
To send a message of reassurance at a time of mounting geopolitical tensions, the US, China, Russia, France and the UK pledged on Monday to use nuclear weapons only “for defensive, deterrent and preventive purposes. from the war”. According to the Chinese media, this Tuesday, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ma Zhaoxu, has emphasized the positive step that the statement represents and has expressed that it was his country that promoted the nuclear powers to explicitly reaffirm that they would not use these weapons to attack other countries.
“The joint statement issued by the leaders of the five states will contribute to increasing mutual trust and replacing competition with coordination and cooperation,” the state news agency Xinhua was quoted as saying. “China pushed for the inclusion of the reaffirmation that countries would not launch nuclear weapons against each other or against any other country,” Ma said.
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The text, published before the 10th revision conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is held in New York (originally scheduled for this Tuesday, but postponed until August due to the pandemic), comes after a year full of accusations between Beijing and Washington to foment an arms race: China reacted with fury to the AUKUS defense pact – by which the United States and the United Kingdom will help Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines – while the White House ratified its commitment to defend to Taiwan in case of attack.
In November, the Pentagon affirmed in its annual report to the US Congress that China has increased its nuclear capacity on land, sea and air and estimated that by 2030 it could have 1,000 nuclear warheads ready for use. According to the American Federation of Scientists (FAS, for its acronym in English), the Asian giant currently has a capacity of 350 nuclear warheads, light years away from the around 4,000 that the US and Russia have.
Fu Cong stressed on Tuesday that China must take measures to ensure that its nuclear capacity is sufficient in the face of the changing environment in Asia and has maintained that his country will not join the dialogue between the US and Russia on strategic stability for the time being: ” We will be delighted to unite if both nations reduce their arsenal to our level. ” “The two superpowers have to drastically reduce their nuclear capabilities to a level comparable to that of China, France or the United Kingdom, so that other nuclear states can join this process,” the Chinese official pointed out.