BEIJING (South China Morning Post) – China has hit out at the United States and Japan after the two nations made claims over China’s growing nuclear capabilities.
In a statement on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on Thursday, the two countries called on China to increase transparency and reduce nuclear risks.
“Noting the People’s Republic of China’s ongoing increase in its nuclear capabilities, Japan and the United States request [China] to contribute to arrangements that reduce nuclear risks, increase transparency, and advance nuclear disarmament,” the U.S. and Japan said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the U.S. was the bigger threat.
“As we all know, it is the U.S. that is the biggest threat to global stability with the world’s biggest and most advanced nuclear stockpile,” Zhao said, adding that the U.S. had deployed missile systems around the world.
“Despite possessing the world’s largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal, the U.S. is still investing trillions of dollars to upgrade its ‘nuclear triad’, developing low-yield nuclear weapons and lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons.”
He said the U.S. should “mind its own business” before criticizing China and cut its nuclear stockpile to set an example for other countries.
He added that China remained firmly committed to a self-defensive nuclear strategy and no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons.
Zhao also criticized Japan for storing large quantities of weapons-grade plutonium and “desperately trying to prevent the U.S. from adopting the no-first-use policy”.
“If the Japanese side is sincere about promoting nuclear arms control and non-proliferation, it should adopt a responsible attitude and respond to these international concerns,” he said.
The criticism came as the U.S. and Japanese prepared for their first online meeting since Fumio Kishida became Japanese prime minister in October.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the aim of the talks was “to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance” and ensure “a free and open Indo-Pacific” that would involve deeper cooperation between the nations over trade and security.
Separately in his remarks, Zhao censured Washington for imposing “hegemonic” sanctions on three Chinese companies over the charges of “missile technology proliferation”, urging the White House to “revoke the relevant sanctions and stop suppressing Chinese enterprises and smearing China.” The spokesman accused the U.S. of hypocrisy for selling nuclear-capable cruise missiles.