CALL TO ALLOW CHINA TO ‘STRIKE FIRST’
Beijing should abandon its promise not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in a war, in response to the growing alliances in the region against it, according to a former senior diplomat with close ties to the government.
Before leaders of Pacific nations met in Washington on Friday for a gathering denounced by China as a “mini NATO”, Sha Zukang said its long-standing promise should be revised, because of the US’s growing military presence in East Asia and the new strategic partnerships forming there.
“The unconditional no first use is not suitable ... unless China-US negotiations agree that neither side would use (nuclear weapons) first, or the US will no longer take any passive measures to undermine the effectiveness of China’s strategic forces,” Mr Sha told a meeting of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association in Beijing last week.
His words will add to a sense of alarm at the atmosphere of strategic confrontation developing in Asia.
China became a nuclear power in 1964 and adopted the policy four years later. Analysis of satellite photographs by independent civilian researchers suggests China is building almost 300 silos for intercontinental missiles.