No limit to expansion of nuke arsenal: China

Monday, February 28, 2011

BEIJING - China’s top officials have declared there is no limit to the expansion of Beijing’s nuclear weapon arsenal, fears abound internationally that it will eventually be equal to that of the United States, and will have profound consequences on maintaining strategic balance in Asia.

Secret defence consultation records reveal that the US has failed to persuade rising superpower China to be more transparent about its nuclear capabilities. Chinese officials privately admit that a desire for military advantage underpins continuing secrecy.

US diplomatic cables obtained by the whistle blowing website WikiLeaks and The Age, quoted Ma Xiaotian the deputy chief of China’s People’s Liberation Army, as telling US Defence and State Department officials in June 2008 that the growth of China’s nuclear forces was an “imperative reality” and there could be “no limit on technical progress”.

Ma then said: “it is impossible for China to change its decades-old way of doing business to become transparent using the US model”, The Age reported.

He also said that Beijing’s nuclear posture has “always been defensive” and China would “never enter into a nuclear arms race.”

He made clear that there are areas of China’s nuclear program that are not very transparent.

China’s Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei has told US officials that there will be an extension of the Chinese military prowess, and that Beijing will not accept any limits set by other countries.

According to other leaked US cables, Japan fears that China’s nuclear arsenal will grow to equal that of the US. Japan has asked Washington to retain strong nuclear capabilities to deter an “increasingly bold” China from “doing something stupid”.

Japanese Foreign Ministry official also warned that China’s “troubling” nuclear build-up had to be viewed in the context of its other activities, including its 2007 anti-satellite test, cyber-attacks and growing naval capabilities.

US and Japanese officials have agreed that the non-transparent working of China’s nuclear build up is creating troubles. The Japanese have pointed out that close co-ordination is “critical” before any US decisions on “deep cuts” in nuclear weapons talks with Russia.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies reports, China has nearly 90 intercontinental ballistic missiles and more than 400 intermediate range missiles to target Taiwan and Japan.

It has been predicted by the US intelligence community that China could double the number of warheads on missiles by mid 2020s and will get capable of threatening the US. (ANI)

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