A Chinese arms control official on Tuesday called on the US and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals. The comments came a day after the three powers, along with Britain and France, released a joint statement that said a nuclear war must never happen.
Including retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, the US currently has approximately 5,750 nuclear warheads and Russia has about 6,375. China’s arsenal is just a fraction of what the US and Russia possess. Current estimates put Beijing’s nuclear stockpile somewhere around 300 warheads.
Fu Cong, director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, said Beijing would join arms control talks with the US and Russia once their stockpiles were at a similar level.
“We will be happy to join if they have reduced to our level,” Fu said. “The two superpowers need to … drastically reduce their nuclear capabilities to a level comparable to the level of China, and for that matter to the level of France and the UK, so that other nuclear states can join in this process.”
In the meantime, Fu said China will continue to modernize its nuclear weapons, but he denied a report from the US that claimed Beijing was rapidly expanding its arsenal. In November, the Pentagon published a report that said China could have as many as 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030.
“On the assertions made by US officials that China is expanding dramatically its nuclear capabilities, first, let me say that this is untrue,” Fu said. “China has always adopted a no-first-use policy and we maintain our nuclear capabilities at the minimal level required for our national security.”
The US has an over $1 trillion plan to modernize its nuclear arsenal, giving the Pentagon a good reason to hype up China’s nuclear weapons.