China criticizes U.S. for nuclear adversary claims

Cheryl Sanders
February 4, 2018

China decried the USA for its "Cold War mentality" on Sunday after Washington announced last week that it plans to diversify its nuclear arsenal with smaller bombs.

"The US Defense Department published the country's nuclear doctrine, which contained absurd assumptions on China's development plans, exaggerating the threat of the Chinese nuclear forces, we strongly oppose this", a statement, published on the ministry's official WeChat account, read. "We hope that the United States earnestly takes up its special disarmament responsibility, correctly understands China's strategic intentions and objectively views China's national defence and military build-up".

But Beijing dismissed the review as "presumptuous speculation", saying China had strictly followed a "no first use" policy - meaning it would not use nuclear weapons unless it was attacked with them - and had been "always extremely restrained" in its nuclear weapons development.

China's Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said that the U.S. document presumptuously speculated about the intentions behind China's development and played up the threat of China's nuclear strength.

"Peace and development are irreversible trends of the world and as the country with the largest nuclear arsenal, the United States should follow instead of going against this trend", Ren said in the statement.

The Donald Trump administration said that it will continue to develop its nuclear arms policy and will adopt a stronger stance with Russian Federation, which it threatened with the high costs of launching a limited atomic attack on Europe.

It is the first time since 2010 that the US military has enunciated how it foresees nuclear threats in the coming decades.

This isn't the first time that China has used the Cold War label to denounce USA policy. The U.S. has named China, Russia, Iran and North Korea as potential threats.

Low-yield weapons are smaller, less powerful bombs with a strength below 20 kilotonnes.

The document said the U.S. will develop for deployment a "low-yield" nuclear warhead for submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

This U.S. Navy handout image shows Baker, the second of the two atomic bomb tests, in which a 63-kiloton warhead was exploded 90 feet under water as part of Operation Crossroads, conducted at Bikini Atoll in July 1946.

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