China says nuclear weapons only for self-defence, vows to implement 'no first use' policy

     China has claimed that its development of nuclear weapons is limited to self-defence purposes and would resolutely implement the 'no first use' policy. Accordiing to Xinhua, in an article published in the latest issue of China Armed Forces, General Jing Zhiyuan, commander of the PLA Second Artillery Force that controls China's nuclear weapons stockpile, said that: "If no power presses for nuclear war with China, the Second Artillery Force will always keep silent." "We will firmly pursue a defensive nuclear strategy and resolutely implement the 'no first use' policy," he added. China has always maintained that its military nuclear drive is purely defensive in nature. At the Nuclear Security Summit in April this year, Chinese President Hu Jintao had put forward a five-point proposal calling on all nuclear-armed countries to keep their nuclear weapons facilities safe. Jing further said that China's nuclear military forces would 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 in the article. China began building its own nuclear arsenal after the country exploded its first atomic bomb in the deserts of Northwest China in 1964. In 1971, the country became the fifth country in the world to launch a nuclear submarine and in 1980, it tested a carrier rocket, shooting it from Northwest China to the South Pacific to showcase its intercontinental strike capabilities, Xinhua reported. In 1982, it conducted an underwater missile launch and in 1996, China declared it would suspend nuclear testing to promote nuclear disarmament.

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