China responded to a new U.S. nuclear strategy Thursday, saying the continued reduction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is important for international nuclear disarmament and world peace.
The United States released the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) on Tuesday, promising to renounce the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states that comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
"The U.S. Nuclear Posture Review has drawn extensive attention from the international community. We have taken note of some new expressions of U.S. nuclear policy in the review," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu at a regular news briefing.
The 50-page review said the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are parties to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.
However, the Obama administration did not give a 'no-first-use' assurance as demanded by some progressives, partly because officials in the Defense and State departments worried that such a declaration would unnerve allies protected by the U.S. "nuclear umbrella."
"It is of great importance for the realization of complete and thorough nuclear disarmament and world peace and stability the United States, as one of the countries with largest nuclear arsenals, continues to make drastic reductions in its nuclear weapon arsenal in an irreversible way and further lessen the role of nuclear weapons for its national security," Jiang said.
Jiang also reiterated China's stance on nuclear weapons, saying China keeps a self-defense nuclear strategy and has consistently advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.
"At no time and under no circumstance will China be the first to use nuclear weapons," said Jiang. "China unconditionally promises not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones."
Jiang said China will continue to keep its nuclear capability at the lowest level needed for national security.
"China has never entered, nor will it ever enter, a nuclear arms race in any form."
"China will work with the international community to make efforts to promote the international nuclear disarmament process," Jiang added.
The new U.S. nuclear strategy was unveiled just days ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit, which is due to be held from April 12-13 in Washington.
Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend the summit and deliver a speech stressing the importance of nuclear security and clarifying China's policy on nuclear security.
Leaders or representatives of 46 countries, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Union (EU), and other international organizations have confirmed their attendance at the summit.