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China says US has ‘Cold War’ mentality after new nuclear policy

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

world Updated: Feb 04, 2018 18:31 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China,US,Cold War Mentality
A Chinese man adjusts a China flag before a news conference attended at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 5, 2012.(Reuters File Photo)

The US should drop its “Cold War mentality” and shoulder its responsibility about nuclear disarmament, China’s defence ministry said on Sunday, adding that Beijing would never use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states or nuclear weapon free zones.

Beijing was reacting to the Nuclear Posture Review, a 74-page report published on Friday, which outlines Washington’s plans to diversify its nuclear arsenal to sharpen its deterrent.

The report also casts China as “a major challenge to US interests in Asia”, saying the US strategy for China is designed to “prevent Beijing from mistakenly concluding that it could secure an advantage through the limited use of its theatre nuclear capabilities or that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is acceptable”.

“China firmly opposes the NPR published by the United States department of defence,” Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said on Sunday.

“The US document presumptuously speculated about the intentions behind China’s development and played up the threat of China’s nuclear strength,” he said in a statement published by the official Xinhua news agency.

The US, which possesses the world’s largest nuclear weapons arsenal, should conform to the irreversible world trend of peace and development rather than run in the opposite direction, Ren said.

“We hope the US side will discard its ‘cold-war mentality’, shoulder its own special and primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament, understand correctly China’s strategic intentions and take a fair view on China’s national defence and military development,” he said.

Ren added that China has adhered to the policy of “no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances”.

China has “always exercised the utmost restraint in the development of nuclear weapons and limited its nuclear capabilities to the minimum level required for national security”, he said.

China had had a similar reaction after the Pentagon recently released the new US National Defence Strategy. That document had counted Russia and China as security threats to the US and said long-term strategic competition with Beijing and Moscow was among the key priorities for Washington.

“The relevant report of the US side is full of ideas of a ‘zero-sum game’ and reflects the mentality of the Cold War, it deliberately distorts the diplomatic and defence policy of the People’s Republic of China, the rivalry between major powers is exaggerated, it is inherently erroneous,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said.

First Published: Feb 04, 2018 11:24 IST