US should drop Cold War mentality: China

BEIJING: China on Sunday slammed the United States’ new nuclear strategy, saying that Washington needed to reassess Beijing’s defence and military policies and drop its Cold War mentality. “We hope that the US will set aside its Cold War mentality, take responsibility for nuclear disarmament and fairly judge China’s national defence and military developments,” said Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang, according to Xinhua news agency.
The US Defence Department, in a strategy report published on Friday, classified Russia and China as the biggest threats to the US. In response, the US plans to develop a “tailored and flexible” approach to deterrence and increase nuclear capabilities, the report said.
The Chinese ministry spokesman said that China was “firmly opposed” to the new strategy from the Pentagon, which was based on pure speculation. He added that China was pursuing a nuclear policy that was focused on defence.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also criticised the new strategy’s aims: “How can someone talk about world peace while at the same time also talk about new nuclear weapons and threaten your main enemies?”
He added that Tehran would never make weapons of mass destruction, but that it would do anything in order to defend Iran and its people.
Russian politicians took the US strategy to task on Saturday, with one senator slamming it as “unreasonable and counterproductive.”
In response to the strategy, former Russian general Leonid Ivashov suggested that Russia should increase ties with China against the US.
Although the review largely focuses on Russia, several sections are dedicated to the lack of transparency in China’s nuclear buildup.
The report says China has added new types of nuclear capabilities — ranging from a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile to a new ballistic missile submarine — “with little to no transparency into its intentions”.
The report makes “wild guesses” about China’s intentions and exaggerates the threat of its nuclear force, Ren Guoqiang said.
China “has always kept its own nuclear forces at the minimum level required by national security”, Ren said, pointing out that the US has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.
Since taking office in 2012, President Xi Jinping has pushed for a muscular China, including calls last October to develop a “world-class” military by 2050.
China’s neighbours have watched warily as the People’s Liberation Army has upgraded its arsenal with increasingly sophisticated weaponry and sought to create a more effective and professional fighting force.
Upgrades to its nuclear arsenal have received less attention, partly because of its small size, estimated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute at just 270 warheads compared to 6,800 for the US.
China has also long maintained it will never allow first use of its atomic weapons. China “always abides by the principle of no first use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances”, Ren said, and will “unconditionally not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.” — dpa/AFP