Calls for China to build up ‘nuclear deterrant’ emerge as US COVID-19 tensions build

U Xijin has called for a nuclear defence mechanism in response to “bullying” from the US government during the coronavirus crisis. This comes as cases reach 1,381,150 in the US.

In the article published by The Global Times on Saturday, Hu argued that China needed to build up its stockpile of nuclear weapons.

He said China needs a “deterrent,” as US officials have been increasingly critical of the Chinese government amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The editor argued that this would “safeguard national security”.

Xijin said: “In the past, China’s storage of nuclear weapons was deemed sufficient to generate adequate nuclear deterrent.

“However, it doesn’t mean the same storage will be big enough in the future to curb US government’s strategic ambitions and bullying impulse against China,”

Xijin then went on to argue that the US was currently “more likely to exert all its power at its disposal to suppress and intimidate China.”

He warned that “China needs to possess the real power to prevent the US politicians from gambling with its nuclear armament and harming China.”

Hu clarified that he is not a “warmonger” and does not want a nuclear war.

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However, he argued that building up China’s nuclear arsenal would be a defensive measure to prevent the US from striking first.

“China is committed not to be the first to launch nuclear weapons, and it will never threaten non-nuclear countries with its nuclear arsenal,” he added.

The Global Times editor previously posted his suggestion to the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

He tweeted about the post on Friday, writing: “I said on Chinese social media that China needs to expand the number of its nuclear warheads to over 1,000 to strengthen nuclear deterrent, given US’ rising strategic ambitions and impulses targeting China.”

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“It received over 60K likes. China pledges no-first-use and it loves peace.”

However, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, assured this was just a personal viewpoint of Hu’s.

He told Newsweek: “This is the personal view of Mr Hu and he enjoys the freedom of speech in China,” Hua said.

“China’s policy on arms control is consistent.

“We believe that the country that possesses the biggest nuclear arsenal has special, prior responsibility and should further reduce nuclear arsenal drastically.

“China has always followed the principle of no-first-use of nuclear weapon,” she said.

“We pursue a very responsible and restrained policy.”

The news comes as US president Donald Trump Donald Trump brutally rejected renegotiating the terms of a trade deal with China which would improve trading relations between the two countries.

Trump said at a press briefing yesterday that he is not in favour of renegotiating any part of the deal.

He claimed that China would seek to change the terms to better suit them.

He said: “I’m not interested. We signed a deal. I’ve heard that too – they’d like to re-open the trade talks to make it a better deal for them.”

The announcement comes after Trump admitted he was “very torn” about whether or not to uphold the deal at all, despite the fact that trade officials had agreed to do so.

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