China: UK need to ‘stand up’ to ‘bullying’ says Lord Patten
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused the Trump administration of “lying diplomacy” after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Beijing as the “least transparent” of the five United Nations Security Council members.
The world can judge who is really conducting nuclear madness
Ms Hua said: “The United States arbitrarily withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and spends trillions of dollars on its nuclear arsenal, harming the strategic security and safety of the world.
“The world can judge who is really conducting nuclear madness.
“The US is delusional and amusing itself but the rest of the world will not be deceived.”
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Beijing’s outburst came after Mr Pompeo raised concerns about the Chinese military’s nuclear weapons stockpile in an article written with special presidential envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea for Newsweek magazine.
The pair warned Beijing’s increasingly “aggressive” nuclear posture threatened non-nuclear neighbours in the region and “undermined confidence” in the Chinese government’s “no first use” commitment.
They said China was pursuing “nuclear triad” of land, air and sea and claimed its nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, of which there were “more than a thousand,” could be fired from fixed or mobile installations and reach US shores in “30 minutes”.
Mr Pompeo and Mr Billingslea said a build-up of coastal arms was “intended to target US forces in East Asia and to intimidate and coerce America’s allies”.
They said: “We expect that if current trends hold China will at least double its total nuclear arsenal in the next decade.”
The pair called on China to follow the rest of the UN Security Council by disclosing its nuclear arsenal and said it was also important for Beijing to be part of any future Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
They said: “Beijing refuses to disclose how many nuclear weapons it has, how many it plans to develop, or what it plans to do with them.
“It is the least transparent of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
“We also publicly release our Nuclear Posture Review, and we conduct biannual data exchanges with Russia on nuclear issues.
“Both France and the United Kingdom regularly produce statements detailing the numbers and types of nuclear weapons in their arsenals.
“China refuses to adopt these processes, instead clinging to secrecy as its preferred strategy.
“The United States, the Soviet Union and other nations recognised long ago that great powers must behave responsibly with the world’s most dangerous weapons.
“So, too, must any nation with claims to greatness today.”
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Pentagon officials believe China plans to at least double the number of its nuclear warheads over the next 10 years from an estimated figure in the low 200s.
Its September report to Congress on Beijing’s military capabilities was the first time it had put a number on the country’s weapons.
The Pentagon said the growth projection was based on factors including Beijing having enough material to double its nuclear weapons stockpile without new fissile material production.
Chad Sbragia, deputy assistant secretary of defence for China, said: “We’re certainly concerned about the numbers but also just the trajectory of China’s nuclear developments writ large.”
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