China wants to increase its nuclear capabilities in order to properly defend itself, announced the Chinese military’s mouthpiece newspaper, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily.
It published a commentary article on Jan. 30, seemingly in reaction to a U.S. Department of Defense document leaked to HuffPost earlier this month, which it cited.
The document was a draft of the DOD’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, where recommendations were made to increase “low-yield” nuclear weapons. The final draft is expected to be released in February.
This news appeared to have propelled the Chinese regime to act. The PLA Daily article detailed the latest American and Russian nuclear weapon technology and mentioned instances of military exercises in both countries. “Those are the most direct, most effective ways to demonstrate their nuclear deterrence capabilities,” the article read.
At the end, the article concluded that in the face of the two countries’ nuclear strategies, China also needed to “increase and strengthen reliable nuclear deterrence and counter-strike capabilities,” in order to “support our country’s status as a great power and protect our national security.”
According to ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), China currently has 270 warheads in its nuclear arsenal, compared to 6,800 in the United States and 7,000 in Russia.
China’s arsenal has accumulated steadily over the years, with the capability to deliver by land, sea, and air.
Judging from the PLA’s latest announcement, the regime now appears eager to pump up its nuclear arsenal.
This news also comes amid increased tensions with China over unfair trade practices such as intellectual property theft, which President Donald Trump has expressed he plans to punish China for.
This is not the first time the Chinese military has flexed its muscles on the nuclear question. In 2005, PLA Major General Zhu Chenghu made a direct threat to the United States in front of journalists at a news conference. He said if the United States decided to help defend Taiwan, China would not be afraid to retaliate with a nuclear attack. “Chinese people will be prepared to have the cities to the east of Xi’an be obliterated, but Americans will also have to prepare for hundreds of cities to be destroyed by us,” he said.
The sentiment echoed former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong’s speech in Moscow for an international meeting of Communist and Workers’ Party members in 1957. He had said even if a third of the world’s people were killed in a nuclear war, it would be worth it, as capitalism would be destroyed and socialism would win out.