Asking the US to discard its “cold-war mentality” and take a fair view on China’s military development, Beijing Sunday criticised a Pentagon report that cast the Communist giant as “a major challenge” to America’s interests in Asia.
The Pentagon on Friday released the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in which it said that the US wants to prevent China from mistakenly concluding that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is acceptable.
China said that it is “firmly opposed” to the NPR published by the US Department of Defence.
The 74-page report, the Pentagon’s first since 2010, cast China as “a major challenge to US interests in Asia”.
China’s Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said that the US document presumptuously speculated about the intentions behind China’s development and played up the threat of China’s nuclear strength.
“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.
The report said 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 will resolutely stick to peaceful development and pursue a national defence policy that is defencive in nature, Ren said.
“China has adhered to the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances,” he said, adding that under no circumstances will China use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones.
China has always exercised utmost restraint in the development of nuclear weapons and limited its nuclear capabilities to the minimum level required for national security, the defence ministry spokesman said.
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, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Ren as saying.
He urged the US side to meet China halfway to make military relations between the two sides a stable factor in bilateral relations, and jointly safeguard global peace, stability and prosperity.