Senior PLA commander spells out defensive nature of China's nuclear arsenal

( Source: Xinhua ) 2010-August-14 07:26

  BEIJING, Aug.13 (Xinhua) -- China's nuclear weapons are forself-defense purposes, a top commander in the People's Liberation Army(PLA) of China strategic missile corps said.

  "If no power presses for nuclear war with China, the Second ArtilleryForce will always keep silent," General Jing Zhiyuan, commander of thePLA Second Artillery Force that controls China's nuclear weaponsstockpile, said in an article published in the latest issue of ChinaArmed Forces.

  China's development of a nuclear arms capacity is limited to that ofthe lowest level necessary to safeguard national security, Jing said inthe article in the quarterly magazine affiliated to the Xinhua NewsAgency.

  "We will firmly pursue a defensive nuclear strategy and resolutely implement the 'no first use' policy," he said.

  China has long insisted its military nuclear drive is purely defensive in nature.

  At the Nuclear Security Summit in April this year, Chinese PresidentHu Jintao put forward a five-point proposal calling on allnuclear-armed countries to keep their nuclear weapons facilities safe.

  Jing said China's nuclear military forces will carry out Hu's fiveproposals and actively support international efforts to enhance nuclearsecurity.

  "We, the Second Artillery Force, will always stick to the principleof limited development of nuclear weapons and we will not engage in anuclear arms race," Jing wrote.

  China began building its own nuclear arsenal after the countryexploded its first atomic bomb in the deserts northwestern China in1964.

  In 1971, the country became the fifth country in the world to launch a nuclear submarine.

  China successfully tested a carrier rocket in 1980, shooting it fromnorthwest China to the South Pacific to showcase its intercontinentalstrike capabilities.

  It also conducted an underwater missile launch in 1982.

  In 1996, China declared it would suspend nuclear testing to promote nuclear disarmament.

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