The Foreign Ministry accuses America of clinging to a first-strike nuclear deterrence policy © Getty Images / Visual China Group

The US is hyping up a supposed “Chinese threat” as an excuse to expand its nuclear arsenal and maintain its military hegemony, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday, calling it a “go-to tactic of the US.”

China’s nuclear policy remains consistent and clear, the spokesman explained, noting that Beijing was sticking to its no-first-use policy in regard to nuclear weapons and has limited the development of its strategic arsenal to the minimum level required by national security. “We are never part of any form of an arms race,” he pointed out, stating that China does not pose a threat or challenge to other countries, with which it hopes to be a development partner.

Meanwhile, the US has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and openly devises first-strike deterrence policies against particular countries, Zhao noted.

“What the US should do is to seriously reflect on its nuclear policy, abandon the Cold-War mentality and hegemonic logic,” the spokesman said. He called on Washington to “stop disrupting global strategic stability,” and cut down its nuclear arsenal in order to “create conditions for attaining the ultimate goal of complete and thorough nuclear disarmament.”

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Pentagon frets over China’s nuclear program

Zhao’s comments come after the US Defense Department published on Tuesday the so-called 2022 China Military Power Report, which describes Beijing as “the most consequential and systemic challenge to our national security and to a free and open international system.” The report also suggests that China could step up the modernization of its nuclear forces in the next decade and produce about 1,500 tactical warheads by 2035.

Last month, the US also released its 2022 National Security Strategy, in which China was labeled as “the most consequential geopolitical challenge,” noting that Beijing had the intent to reshape the international order and possessed “the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.”

Beijing responded by accusing Washington of being driven by “the logic of domination” and deliberately “misrepresenting” China’s foreign and defense policies. (RT)