US claims of China’s nukes ‘excuse for own expansion’
Published: Apr 11, 2022 10:39 PM
DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT

DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT

US military leaders, politicians and media have been repeatedly hyping the so-called China nuclear arsenal expansion, highlighted recently again by a report by the Wall Street Journal, and these speculations are an excuse for the US to expand its own nuclear arsenal and push the "China threat" theory, Chinese experts said on Monday.

 China has accelerated the expansion of its nuclear arsenal because of a change in its assessment of the threat posed by the US, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing people "with knowledge of the Chinese leadership's thinking."

The report comes only days after Admiral Charles Richard, the head of US Strategic Command, claimed on April 5 that China's first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile-launched hypersonic glide vehicle last July is a "technological achievement with serious implications for strategic stability," as the hypersonic vehicle flew 40,000 kilometers for more than 100 minutes, marking "the greatest distance and longest flight time of any land attack weapon system of any nation to date," Richard wrote in the testimony, Bloomberg reported on April 5.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Richard claimed that China has been building more than 100 suspected missile silos in China's remote western region that could be used to house nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the US.

These are pure speculations, and the US has been hyping this topic for a long time, and it is nothing new, Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the Naval Research Academy of the People's Liberation Army, told the Global Times on Monday.

By repeatedly hyping and building up tensions, the US is creating an excuse to expand its own nuclear arsenal, despite the US' nuclear triad leading China in both quality and quantity, Zhang said.

The US is retiring its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles that entered service in the 1960s, and is now developing the new Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile. So it is obvious why the US is finding a reason for this upgrade, a Chinese nuclear strategy expert told the Global Times.

Xu Guangyu, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times on Monday that the US relies on its nuclear capability to maintain its hegemony, so it wants to use the "China threat" theory as an excuse.

The eastward expansion of the US-led NATO would ultimately aim to not only contain Russia, but also China, so hyping China's so-called nuclear expansion is also a way to hype the "China threat" theory, Xu said.

Fu Cong, Director General of the Arms Control Department at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in a media briefing in January that China has no plans to drastically expand its nuclear arsenal but will continue to modernize it under the changing security environment.

China is the only major nuclear power in the world to announce the no-first-use policy, and it maintains the minimum level of nuclear capability required to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Zhang said, noting that facing the current needs in national defense, China needs to continue to develop its nuclear arsenal, and the US is exaggerating it.