Chinese troops participating in Peace Mission 2021, a counterterrorism military exercise for Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states, parade at a training range in Orenburg, Russia, on Monday. The participants are from eight SCO member states, including China, Russia and Kazakhstan. (LI CHUN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE)
Beijing hit back on Thursday at a United States report on Chinese military development, saying that it disregards facts and is fraught with bias.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the remark at a regular news briefing after the Pentagon claimed that China was increasing its nuclear weapons arsenal much more quickly than anticipated, narrowing the gap with the U.S..
Wang said that the U.S. Department of Defense's annual report, like previous ones, "ignores facts and is full of prejudice".
"In fact, the U.S. is the largest source of nuclear threat across the globe," Wang said.
According to statistics from international think tanks, as of early 2021, the U.S. had 5,550 nuclear warheads.
Washington not only boasts it has the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world but also invests trillions of dollars to upgrade its "nuclear triad"－its nuclear forces on land, in the sea and in the skies, Wang said, adding that the U.S. has also developed low-yield nuclear weapons and lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.
Wang noted that the U.S. has withdrawn from the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, while it is continuously pushing ahead with the deployment of a global anti-ballistic system.
It has resumed research and development of land-based medium-range ballistic missiles and sought to deploy them in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, he added.
In addition, Washington, with its Cold War mentality, is ganging up with the United Kingdom and Australia to form a "small circle" and conduct nuclear-powered submarine cooperation, the spokesman said.
He urged the U.S. to earnestly undertake its special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament and substantially and largely reduce its nuclear stockpile in a verifiable, irreversible and legally binding manner, in order to safeguard the global strategic balance and stability.
Wang reiterated that China pursues a self-defensive nuclear strategy, with its nuclear forces always kept at the minimum level required to safeguard national security.
He said China remains committed to the nuclear weapons policy of no-first-use at any time and under any circumstances, and the country clearly and unconditionally pledges that it will never use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against nuclear-free countries and regions.
In another development, the spokesman also urged the European Union to correct its mistakes and not to send any wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, in order to avoid a serious impact on China-EU relations.
Wang made the remark as a European Parliament delegation is currently on its first official visit to the island.
"The clumsy performance of a few individuals cannot alter the situation that the one-China principle is widely recognized and upheld by the international community. Nor can it change the inevitable trend of the country's reunification," the spokesman said, adding that the attempts of certain individuals are doomed to fail.