US military build-up threatens global arms control: Chinese FM

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/12 17:36:53

China US Photo: Xinhua

The Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the US’ unilateralism and building up of military power using all its resources poses a great obstacle to the international arms control process, but is instead shifting the blame to China, following a US national security official’s remarks claiming China does not intend to join arms control negotiations as it is modernizing its armed forces. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at Wednesday’s media briefing that China has no intention of joining the so-called trilateral arms control negotiations with the US and Russia, and this position is clear and understood by Russia and the wider international community. 

It is worth pointing out that the US, sitting on the largest arsenal of the most advanced nuclear weapons, should earnestly fulfill its special responsibility in nuclear disarmament, respond to Russia’s call to extend the New SART (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), and further cut down its massive nuclear arsenal, Geng said.

US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on Tuesday to the Atlantic Council in Washington that the US withdrawal from the ineffective Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) may bring Russia and even China to the negotiating table for serious discussions on nuclear arms reductions in the coming months, and he said it’s not surprising that China does not intend to join arms control negotiations now, as the wealthy country is modernizing its armed forces. 

As for the modernization of China’s national defense, Geng said that China’s national defense strategy is defensive in its nature, which remains unchanged, and it is only reasonable and legitimate to increase input into the national defense sector proportionally as the country’s economy continues to expand, adding that such an increase does not target or threaten any country. 

China’s military expenditure is measured and appropriate, whether it is gauged by its total amount, by its proportion of GDP and fiscal revenue, or by military spending per capita, Geng said.

The ratio of China’s military spending to GDP has been on the decline, which is below the 2 percent standard of NATO countries, Geng said.
Meanwhile, the US defense budget has been continuously and significantly increasing in recent years, reaching $716 billion in 2019, which is roughly the total of all defense budgets of the top ten countries after the US combined, and accounts for about 3.4 percent of the US’ GDP, Geng said.
Recently, the US government submitted a 2021 defense budget bill worth $705.4 billion to Congress, in which the application quota for nuclear arms modernization alone accounted for $28.9 billion.
The US’ unilateralism and exhaustion of all its resources to build up its military power is the real obstacle to the progress of international arms control, and the US cannot justify itself or win recognition in the international community through attempts to use China as an excuse and evade responsibility, Geng said.

Global Times


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