China reveals its most advanced nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-41, at the National Day parade in Beijing on October 1, 2019. (Photo: Global Times)
Facing rising strategic threats from the US, China needs to increase its number of nuclear warheads and complete a technologically advanced nuclear triad by developing the H-20 strategic stealth bomber and JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missiles to deter potential impulsive military action by US warmongers, experts said on Friday.
Having a nuclear arsenal appropriate to China's position will help establish a more stable and peaceful world order, which will be beneficial for the whole world, they said.
This year, the US has been applying amplified military pressure on China, sending all manner of warships and warplanes at an increasing frequency to areas including the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Straits.
The Pentagon is also planning to deploy ground-launched Tomahawk cruise missile installations to the first island chain to contain China's military development, which would not have been possible had the US not quit the INF Treaty, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Since May 1, the US has sent B-1B strategic bombers to the East China Sea on at least three occasions, edging near the island of Taiwan.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt nuclear-powered aircraft carrier strike group and the USS America amphibious assault ship carried out exercises on March 15 in the South China Sea. After COVID-19 broke out on the aircraft carrier, even more frequent military provocations were made by the US in an attempt to show the US' military strength had not been hindered.
Making matters worse, the US has been advocating the development and actual use of low-yield nuclear weapons, claiming they are "safer" than more destructive ones.
Chinese military experts urged the country to expand its nuclear arsenal to deter the US from its ambition to contain China through military means and dispel thoughts of irrational military action by US warmongers.
China needs to expand the number of its nuclear warheads to 1,000 in a relatively short time and have at least 100 DF-41 strategic missiles to curb US strategic ambitions and impulses toward China, said Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin on Friday.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Friday that the US is pressuring and threatening China in all fields. Since the US no longer sees nuclear weapons as a mere deterrence - now viewing them as deployable on the battlefield - China will have to expand its nuclear arsenal in response to this huge threat.
When asked to comment on whether China will build more nuclear warheads and DF-41 missiles and if China will join an arms treaty with the US, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular press conference on Friday that major countries should have prioritized responsibility and an obligation to reduce strategic nuclear weapons.
China always operates under a "no first use" policy when it comes to nuclear weapons, and China's related policy is moderate and responsible, Hua said.
China views nuclear weapons only as a strategic deterrence, but any deterrence needs to be strong enough to halt military aggression toward China, analysts said. If a nuclear weapon is dropped on China, Chinese nuclear weapons must be sufficient to wipe out the enemy in retaliation, experts said.
China revealed its most advanced nuclear weapon at the National Day military parade held in Beijing on October 1, 2019. The road-launched DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is capable of striking the US homeland with multiple nuclear warheads.
China is reportedly testing the JL-3 nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and developing the Type 096 nuclear-powered strategic submarine to launch the missile. Also in development is the H-20 strategic stealth bomber, comparable to the US' B-2.
Beijing-based military expert Wei Dongxu told the Global Times on Friday that China's next-generation SLBM will have a longer range and carry more nuclear warheads, providing more powerful deterrent and counterattack capabilities. The rumored H-20 bomber can carry both nuclear and conventional weapons, fly across continents and conduct strategic deterrent missions, making it a trump card for the Chinese Air Force.
Song said the complete development of a nuclear triad - nuclear weapon launch capabilities from sea, land and air - is necessary for China as the US' strategic weapons are a threat to China, and China needs to continuously upgrade its nuclear arsenal.
Military experts said that it is possible that China and the US might engage in a regional conflict.
For instance, this may become a reality if the US continues to challenge China's bottom line on the Taiwan question, Song said, noting that China must keep its bottom lines on its core interests. The source of China-US confrontation would come from the US' continued provocation using China's core interests, he said.
Developing nuclear weapons can deter wars, but they can also be used in wars, and this is why future conflict can be unpredictable, Song said.
China has held only a small number of nuclear weapons, far fewer than the US in both quantity and quality, but the US is asking China to join strategic arms reduction talks. That is a treaty China will not join unless it comes into possession of the same level of nuclear weapons as the US, Song said.
China has no intention of launching a nuclear arms race with the US, but moderately expanding its nuclear arsenal in both quantity and quality is in line with the demands of national security, Song said.
Wei said, "China's development of new strategic weapons does not mean it will actively attack or threaten any country. Instead, it wants to increase its own strategic defense capabilities, deterring other major powers from taking reckless action."
China, as a responsible major country in the world, should have nuclear deterrence capabilities appropriate to its position and strategic interests, Wei asserted.
China's upgrading of its nuclear weapons will also contribute to the establishment of a new strategic balance, Wei said, noting that if China has stronger strategic deterrence capabilities, countries that tend to wage wars will be less likely to start one. "This will be good for the whole world," he said.