China to continue ‘modernizing’ nuclear arsenal, denies expansion

Beijing, Jan 4 (EFE).- China said Tuesday it would continue to “modernize” its nuclear arsenal after the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council stressed earlier this week their commitment to prevent the expansion of these weapons.

“China has taken steps to modernize its nuclear arsenal for security reasons,” Fu Cong, director of arms control at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying by local press Tuesday.

“It is completely false that China is significantly increasing its nuclear capabilities,” Fu said.

He said China “always adheres to the policy of minimal deterrence and no firing first, which does not mean that we should not modernize our defense systems.”

The statements come a day after the heads of state and government of the five members of the UN Security Council, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and China itself, declared their willingness to work “to put in place a security environment that allows for greater progress in matters of disarmament.”

The five nuclear powers said a nuclear war “can never be won and must never be fought.”

“Given the far-reaching consequences that the use of nuclear weapons would have, we also hold that these, as long as they exist, should serve defensive, deterrent and war prevention purposes. We firmly believe in the need to prevent the continuation of the war and dissemination of those weapons,” they said.

The statement, issued in anticipation of the 10th conference of the parties entrusted with the review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, scheduled for this year, underscored its determination to respect the obligations established by that pact.

Specifically, the one established in Article VI, focused on the “commitment to continue negotiations in good faith on effective measures related to the cessation of the nuclear arms race in the near future and nuclear disarmament.”

Each of these five states, according to the text, said it plans to maintain and strengthen its national measures aimed at preventing the unauthorized or unintentional use of nuclear weapons.

The ultimate goal, according to the note, is “a world free of nuclear weapons” without diminishing security for all.

Fu said the statement was positive, adding that it aims to “build confidence” and “reduce the risks of accidents.” EFE


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