China's defense ministry said that the country has always pursued a nuclear strategy that is solely for self-defense, after an international security report pointed out a "modest" increase in the size of China's nuclear arsenal at a time when the total number of nuclear weapons in the world is decreasing.
According to a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on Monday, the number of nuclear warheads that China possessed in 2015 was estimated to be 260. The number was 250 last year.
China has always kept its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for its self-defense needs and does not participate in nuclear arms races, emphasized a white paper on military strategy issued by the Ministry of National Defense in May. "China firmly pursues a nuclear strategy solely for self-defense and adheres to a policy that rejects preemptive nuclear strikes under all circumstances," the white paper read.
The Ministry of National Defense on Monday told the Global Times that the country has always adhered to such a stance.
Meanwhile, the white paper pointed out that China will work to develop its nuclear weapon systems and to enhance its capabilities to deter other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons.
The total number of nuclear weapons in nine nuclear-armed countries - the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea - has dropped to around 15,850.
The US and Russia now possess 7,260 and 7,500 nuclear warheads respectively, compared to 7,300 and 8,000 respectively last year .
"Both the quality and quantity of China's nuclear arsenal is inadequate, which is incompatible with our national strength and security needs, especially when the nation is under strategic pressure in the international political sphere," a Xi'an-based analyst affiliated with the military that requested anonymity told the Global Times.
However, China will not undertake a massive expansion of its nuclear arsenal partly due to the advancement of conventional weapons as well as international anti-nuclear advocacy, the expert said.
"The modest increase is so far not in conflict with our nuclear strategy. We can strengthen the survivability of our nuclear weapons through modernization or increase the number of intercontinental missiles without expanding the scale of the whole nuclear arsenal," said Wu Riqiang, an associate professor at the Renmin University.