BEIJING - China has adhered to the policy of "no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and in any circumstances," says a white paper on the country's national defense issued on Thursday.
China has made the "unequivocal commitment" that "under no circumstances will it use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones," says the white paper, issued by the Information Office of the State Council, or Cabinet.
The paper says China has always stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.
China maintains that countries possessing the largest nuclear arsenals bear special and primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament, it says. "They should further drastically reduce their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable, irreversible and legally-binding manner, so as to create the necessary conditions for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons."
When conditions are appropriate, other nuclear-weapon states should also join in multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament, it says.
To attain the ultimate goal of complete and thorough nuclear disarmament, the international community should develop, at an appropriate time, "a viable, long-term plan with different phases, " including the conclusion of a convention on the "complete prohibition of nuclear weapons," it says.
China holds that, before the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, all nuclear-weapon states should abandon any nuclear deterrence policy based on first use of nuclear weapons, make an unequivocal commitment that under no circumstances will they use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones, and negotiate an international legal instrument in this regard.
In the meantime, nuclear-weapon states should negotiate and conclude a treaty on no-first-use of nuclear weapons against each other, the paper says.
China has played a constructive role in the review process of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Together with other signatories to the NPT, China is willing to sincerely implement the positive achievements of the Eighth NPT Review Conference in 2010.
China supports the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the early commencement of negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva.
The paper says as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a nuclear-weapon state signatory of the NPT, China has never evaded its obligations in nuclear disarmament and pursues an open, transparent and responsible nuclear policy.
It says China has never deployed nuclear weapons in foreign territory and has always "exercised the utmost restraint" in the development of nuclear weapons, and has never participated in any form of nuclear arms race, nor will it ever do so.
"It will limit its nuclear capabilities to the minimum level required for national security," it says.
China has strictly abided by its commitment to a moratorium on nuclear testing and has actively participated in the work of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, and is steadily preparing for the national implementation of the Treaty, the paper says.
China is responsible for setting up 12 international monitoring stations and laboratories. At present, six primary seismological monitoring stations, three radionuclide stations, the Beijing Radionuclide Laboratory and the China National Data Center have been set up, and one infrasound station is under construction.
The paper says China consistently supports the efforts of non-nuclear-weapon states in establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones, has already signed and ratified all the relevant protocols which have been opened for signature of any nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, and has reached agreement with the ASEAN countries on relevant issues under the Protocol of the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.
China supports the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia and its protocols signed by Central Asian countries, and supports the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, it says.
China maintains that the global missile defense program will be detrimental to international strategic balance and stability, will undermine international and regional security, and will have a negative impact on the process of nuclear disarmament, the paper says.
China holds that no state should deploy overseas missile defense systems that have strategic missile defense capabilities or potential, or engage in any such international collaboration.