The People’s Republic of China is already rapidly upgrading and expanding its nuclear weapons and delivery capabilities under the regime of its leader Xi Jinping, with US surveillance recently detecting the construction of hundreds of new Chinese nuclear rocket silos.
Yet, evidently, that’s not enough, as a senior Chinese diplomat is calling upon the Chinese leadership to adopt an aggressive doctrine of a “first nuclear strike” seemingly directed against the United States.
How the need for ‘first nuclear strike’ is justified
Sha Zukang, a former ambassador of the PRC to the United Nations, has just told a summit meeting of Chinese experts on nuclear policy that it was time to change the country’s commitment to using nuclear weapons only in retaliation of nuclear strikes.
The body he spoke at is the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, which is formally independent but in reality strongly dominated by the Chinese Communist Party as everything in the PRC is.
The senior diplomat’s reasoning is that the “first nuclear strike” doctrine should be in response to what China views as the new America-led anti-Chinese alliances in the Pacific, The Daily Mail reported.
Sha declared at the Beijing nuclear policy meeting last week that while the no first use doctrine has “given China a moral high ground” since it was adopted in the 1960s, it “is not suitable” anymore “unless China-US negotiations agree neither side would” be the first to use nuclear weapons.
Sha’s comments are deemed significant because the Chinese communist regime often uses senior diplomats as mouthpieces for floating vital policy changes.
What is more, they come at a time when China is building hundreds of additional nuclear missile silos.
Another crucial detail about the timing of the call for an official first nuclear strike policy of the PRC is the fact that it came in the same week as America’s announcement of the AUKUS alliance with Australia and the UK, which provides for arming the former with nuclear-powered (though not nuclear-armed) submarines amid growing tensions between China and the US and its regional allies in the Indo-Pacific.
It has also come against the backdrop of a strengthening of another US-led alliance, the Quad, including also India, Japan and Australia, for which Joe Biden was due to host its in-person summit on Friday.
All powers in question are seemingly concerned by China’s increasingly aggressive diplomatic and military actions with respect to Taiwan, the South China Sea, the East China Sea – not to mention its “domestic” crackdowns against freedom in Hong Kong and the ethnic Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
China is nearing 1,000 nuclear warheads
China has been a nuclear power since 1964, and at present officially possesses a total of 320 nuclear warheads, more than 10 times fewer than America’s 3,800 nuclear warheads.
In July, the US government announced the discovery of two new huge missile silo bases currently under construction in China’s remote desert regions, for a total of 230 new silos.
If each new missile carries China’s latest rocket, DF-41, which is capable of carrying up to 12 nuclear warheads, the expansion could bring the PRC’s total number of nuclear warheads to almost 880.
The Global Times, the English-language mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, has already called for making boosting the PRC’s nuclear warhead number to 1,000.