Minnie Chan, South China Morning Post
30 January 2018
China must expand its nuclear stockpile so it can better deter and hit back at an enemy strike as geopolitical uncertainties mount and the US appears bent on a nuclear build-up, according to the Chinese military’s mouthpiece.
In the PLA Daily on Tuesday, a commentary said China had enough nuclear weapons to prevent “bullying” by other nuclear powers but still needed to respond to changes in US strategy.
“To enhance China’s strategic counterbalance in the region and maintain China’s status as a great power, and protect national security, China has to beef up and develop a reliable nuclear deterrence capability,” it said.
It also said China would still stick to the “no first use” doctrine, meaning there were no circumstances in which it would be the first to use nuclear weapons.
The commentary comes as the administration of US President Donald Trump is expected to unveil its new military weapons policy later this week.
A leaked draft of the document says Washington will ramp up new nuclear projects and deploy more “low yield” nuclear bombs, according to the Huffington Post.
Military analysts said China was poised to increase its own arsenal of nuclear warheads but there were no plans to rival the United States.
Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said China only needed to add about 100 warheads to its stockpile to counter threats from the US and India.
“Nuclear weapons are hugely expensive to maintain and China is very pragmatic. Beijing will not spend too much money on an arms race,” Zhou said.