Beijing, October 16-- Fu Cong, director-general of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expounded China’s stance on issues such as China’s policy related to and development of nuclear power and the trilateral China-US-Russia arms control negotiation in an interview with Russian newspaper Kommersant on October 15, 2020.
About China’s nuclear power policy
Fu emphasized that China has always been committed to a nuclear policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and has always kept its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for maintaining its national security. The policy will never change. China is not interested in becoming a nuclear superpower, and will not follow the old path of the United States and the Soviet Union’s crazy nuclear arms race during the Cold War. China did not in the past and will not participate in the nuclear arms race in the future.
About nuclear power development
Fu refuted the groundless accusations made by the United States on China’s nuclear power buildup and pointed out that China’s self-defense minimum nuclear deterrence strategy is a strategic choice based on China’s own security needs and the nature of nuclear weapons as the ultimate deterrent. Guesses about the number of China’s nuclear weapons is baseless.
China’s strengthening of the strategic capacity building aims to ensure the safety and reliability of its nuclear arsenal under the new situation. It’s expected that the outside world will treat it objectively and correctly. In fact, other nuclear-armed states are also modernizing their nuclear arsenals. The United States, for instance, even expects to spend $1.2 trillion to upgrade its massive nuclear arsenal.
Fu said that nuclear transparency includes two aspects: transparency in policy and intention and in capacity and quantity. Transparency in capacity and quantity does not necessarily bring about mutual trust. The disclosure of nuclear power by a nuclear-armed country that has about 6,000 nuclear warheads and insists on the first use of nuclear weapons means deterrence rather than transparency. It will never make other countries feel secure.
From the perspective of enhancing mutual trust and avoiding misjudgments, transparency in nuclear policy and intention is more realistic. China pursues a nuclear policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally. This transparency is of the most significance.
At present, the United States has been upgrading its huge nuclear arsenal, pursuing an offensive nuclear strategy while expanding the use of nuclear weapons, lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, developing new “usable” nuclear warheads, vigorously developing anti-missile and outer space weapon systems, and threatening to deploy land-based intermediate-range missiles around China.
These actions have severely harmed global strategic stability and impacted the survivability of China’s nuclear forces. In this context, China must keep a moderate ambiguity about the scale of its nuclear forces to ensure the effectiveness of its nuclear deterrence.
About the so-called trilateral China-US-Russia arms control negotiation
Fu pointed out that the United States has kept breaking treaties and withdrawing from international organizations, and proposed the so-called trilateral arms control negotiation, all of which is but to find a pretext to free its hands and gain absolute strategic supremacy.
Given the huge gap between the nuclear arsenals of China and those of the United States and the Russian Federation, it is unfair, unreasonable, and infeasible to expect China to join in any trilateral arms control negotiation. China will never participate in such a negotiation. If the United States were willing to reduce its nuclear power to the level of China, China would be ready to engage in global nuclear disarmament negotiation. However, this may not happen in the foreseeable future.
Fu said that China’s rejection of the so-called trilateral arms control negotiation does not mean that China evades its responsibility for nuclear disarmament or refuses to participate in the global nuclear disarmament process.
China has been actively committed to global nuclear disarmament efforts and made significant contributions to the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), actively supporting the development of the Treaty’s verification mechanism, and always abiding by its commitment to a “moratorium” on nuclear testing.
Meanwhile, China has played a key role in activating the dialogue mechanism of the five nuclear-weapon states while actively pushing forward the conclusion of an international legal instrument on preventing the weaponization of and arms race in outer space through negotiations and promoting the provision of security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states.
China is ready to engage in meaningful dialogue on the issues related to strategic stability with all parties under the framework of the United Nations, the Conference on Disarmament and the P5 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council), and is willing toconduct bilateral dialogue on strategic security with all parties based on mutual respect, but we will brook no coercion or blackmail, stressed Fu.