China: Nuclear strategy solely for self-defense

Updated: 2006-12-30 09:34

The Chinese government has published details of its nuclear strategy for the first time in a key policy document issued Friday, saying the ultimate aim of nuclear development was self-defense.

In a white paper on China's national defense in 2006, the government reiterates its stand of never being the first to use nuclear weapons, promising not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon countries and regions, and advocating the comprehensive prohibition and complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

"China upholds a self-defensive nuclear strategy, which is embodied in the state nuclear policies and military strategy. The ultimate aim is to deter other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China," it says.

The concept of a "nuclear strategy" was raised for the first time after China conducted its first nuclear test in 1964. The principle of never being the first to use nuclear weapons was raised the same year.

The white paper says China upholds the principles of counterattack in self-defense and the limited development of nuclear weapons, and aims at building a lean and effective nuclear force capable of meeting national security needs.

It says that China endeavors to ensure the security and reliability of its nuclear weapons and maintains a credible nuclear deterrent force.

China's nuclear force can only be activated by the Central Military Commission and the government exercises great restraint in developing its nuclear force, it stresses.

"China has never entered and will never enter into a nuclear arms race with any other country," the white paper says.

China began to develop limited nuclear weapons under special historical circumstances to break a nuclear monopoly and win a safe and peaceful environment for social construction, said Zhang Yunyu, former commander of China's nuclear test base.

"Facts have proven that we've never changed our commitment to peace."

China joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1984 and a dozen international conventions or agreements on nuclear issues, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 1996, China decided to halt nuclear tests.

"Raising the nuclear strategy publicly reflects China's growing openness on the use of nuclear force," said military strategist Luo Yuan.

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