Senior PLA commander spells out defensive nature of China's nuclear arsenal

( Source: Xinhua ) 2010-August-14 07:26

  BEIJING, Aug.13 (Xinhua) -- China's nuclear weapons are for self-defense purposes, a top commander in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China strategic missile corps said.

  "If no power presses for nuclear war with China, the Second Artillery Force will always keep silent," General Jing Zhiyuan, commander of the PLA Second Artillery Force that controls China's nuclear weapons stockpile, said in an article published in the latest issue of China Armed Forces.

  China's development of a nuclear arms capacity is limited to that of the lowest level necessary to safeguard national security, Jing said in the article in the quarterly magazine affiliated to the Xinhua News Agency.

  "We will firmly pursue a defensive nuclear strategy and resolutely implement the 'no first use' policy," he said.

  China has long insisted its military nuclear drive is purely defensive in nature.

  At the Nuclear Security Summit in April this year, Chinese President Hu Jintao put forward a five-point proposal calling on all nuclear-armed countries to keep their nuclear weapons facilities safe.

  Jing said China's nuclear military forces will carry out Hu's five proposals and actively support international efforts to enhance nuclear security.

  "We, the Second Artillery Force, will always stick to the principle of limited development of nuclear weapons and we will not engage in a nuclear arms race," Jing wrote.

  China began building its own nuclear arsenal after the country exploded its first atomic bomb in the deserts northwestern China in 1964.

  In 1971, the country became the fifth country in the world to launch a nuclear submarine.

  China successfully tested a carrier rocket in 1980, shooting it from northwest China to the South Pacific to showcase its intercontinental strike capabilities.

  It also conducted an underwater missile launch in 1982.

  In 1996, China declared it would suspend nuclear testing to promote nuclear disarmament.


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