Beijing slams United States report on Chinese N-warheads

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"China has always pursued a defensive national defence policy and everyone knows that China is a builder of world peace", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Wednesday.

The Tuesday report suggested that China is moving its strategic nuclear arsenal to a more rapid launch footing.

What's more: China also has more than 1,250 land-based conventional ballistic missiles (GLBM) and land-based cruise missiles (GLCM) with ranges between 500 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers, while the USA now is fielding one type of conventional GLBM with a range of 70 kilometers to 300 kilometers and no GLCMs, the report said.

The report says that number is expected to double over 10 years.

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China has declined urgings from the Trump administration to join the US and Russian Federation in a deal to limit strategic nuclear arms.

China's military has already surpassed the United States in three areas highlighted in the report: shipbuilding, land-based conventional ballistic and cruise missiles, and integrated air defense systems.

Earlier this year, the Communist Party-backed tabloid Global Times said Beijing needed to expand the number of its nuclear warheads to 1,000 in a relatively short time.

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In an interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday, China analyst Andrew Leung said that China's nuclear posture was "largely defensive" adding that even if China doubled its nuclear warheads, from 300 to 600, it would still be only a tiny fraction of the USA arsenal.

In July, a senior Chinese diplomat said Beijing would "be happy" to participate in trilateral arms control negotiations, but only if the USA was willing to reduce its nuclear arsenal to China's level.

"Beijing very much intends or believes it will have to use this military instrument to advance and defend its conception of Chinese sovereignty, security and developmental interests", he said, explaining the findings from the Pentagon's annual report on China's military during an event with the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington. But with growing global concern over China's intentions and behavior, other experts are skeptical that many of these countries would be willing to host even dual-use facilities, especially neighbors like Singapore, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

Russia has roughly 4,300 warheads, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

It "further reinforces the importance of extending New START and the folly of conditioning extension on China and China's participation in arms control", Reif added. China is commissioning the Renhai cruisers even as the United States Navy struggles to find a replacement for its aging fleet of Ticonderoga-class cruisers.

Washington has taken issue with China's handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak and moves to curb freedoms in Hong Kong.

Amid Chinese military exercises last week, Beijing fired four medium-range ballistic missiles from mainland China into the disputed waters of the South China Sea, a US defense official told VOA.

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