New START talks cannot include China

April 30, 2019

Several White House officials told the US media that US President Donald Trump will not renew the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the US and Russia, which expires in 2021. Washington intends to build another nuclear pact that includes China. 

After withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Trump administration is adopting the same tactic toward START.

The key objective of this US tactic is to restrain China from developing its strategic nuclear forces. Washington hopes to exert pressure on Beijing with the help of Moscow and Western public opinion.

In terms of the INF treaty, Russia rejected the US offer to include China in the talks, as the US' demand was utterly unjustifiable. But it would be even more ridiculous if the US were to include China to the New START as it restricts the number of warheads and nuclear missile launchers the US and Russia own. 

The number of warheads owned by China has never been made public, but it is known to all that their numbers are not comparable to that of the US and Russia. According to estimates by the Federation of American Scientists, China has 280 warheads, while the US  has 6,450 and Russia has 6,490.

China must reject every move by the US to pursue such strategies. China should never be bothered by the pressure the US may impose. China should be determined to carry out its own strategic nuclear program. 

In recent years, China has seen the rapid development of its military strength, and it has more options in its strategic toolbox. 

Nuclear power is still the most fundamental strategic tool. China's strategic nuclear power remains at the lowest level possible to maintain the country's national security. Once weakened, the country's strategic security will be undermined. 

It should be noted that China does not only maintain a low-level nuclear arsenal, and is also the only nuclear power committed to the principle of non-first-use of nuclear weapons, which further restricts China's nuclear deterrence. 

In principle, the nuclear deterrence produced by China is different from countries that have not made such a commitment but have the same number of nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles. It is strategic greed for the US to push China to participate in US-Russia nuclear disarmament.

Chinese people should be clear that US' arrogant strategy toward China mainly lies in the difference of magnitude between US' and China's strategic nuclear force. If China's nuclear warheads were in the thousands, the US will never conduct such frivolous "free navigation" in the South China Sea and its moves in the Taiwan Straits would be more restrained. 

We believe China should boost its scale and quality of its strategic nuclear force. The more urgent security situation of China allows of no delay of such a mission and other considerations should give way.

The thought that having enough nuclear weapons is good enough should keep abreast of the national security situation to figure out the concept of "enough."

China does not have to regard the US as an example in terms of nuclear weapons, which is also unrealistic. But China's nuclear force must be enough to deter US hawks' ideas of making strategic threats toward China, which should be the minimum for China's nuclear forces.

(Source: Global Times) 

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