Beijing has rejected, out of hand, fears voiced by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about a Chinese nuclear weapons build-up.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told the press in Beijing on Tuesday of the Chinese government’s “serious concern and firm opposition to NATO playing up China’s nuclear threat.”
China pursues a defensive nuclear strategy and keeps its nuclear weapons to a “minimum necessary for its national security,” he said. China also has a policy not to be the first to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances, Wang added.
At a NATO conference in Copenhagen on Monday, Stoltenberg expressed his concern about the Chinese building new missile silos, which could be used to significantly increase its nuclear capabilities.
China was rapidly expanding its nuclear weapons stockpile with more warheads and a greater number of sophisticated delivery systems, he said. All this was being done in an unrestricted and completely non-transparent manner, Stoltenberg said, calling on China to join in arms control talks.
China’s nuclear arsenal is comparatively small at the moment. According to estimates by the Federation of American Scientists, China currently possesses around 350 nuclear warheads.
Wang accused NATO of “double standards,” saying that: “If NATO really cares about arms control, it should reject its Cold War mentality and abandon this policy.”
Wang would not, however, comment on the alleged construction of new missile silos.