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China to bring 'balance' to nuke meeting
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report released Monday that China, a vital country in the upcoming Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review meeting, to be held in New York on May 3, would balance the big nuclear powers and the non-nuclear weapon nations.

The report, entitled "China and Nuclear Arms Control: Current Positions and Future Policies," states that China is expected to strengthen its nuclear forces, noting that "China is unlikely to take part in any unilateral or multilateral disarmament steps in the near to medium term."

"Chinese steps to modernize its nuclear arsenal will stand out among the world's major nuclear weapons states," according to the report.

"China has never evaded its responsibilities in nuclear disarmament, advocates the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons (and) always exercises utmost restraint in the development of nuclear weapons," an official from China's foreign ministry told the Global Times.

China pursues a defensive nuclear strategy and is committed to no-first-use of nuclear weapons, analysts said, responding to the report.

The nuclear issue has commanded the world's focus recently. As Washington published its Nuclear Posture Review, the US and Russia inked a new treaty to whittle down 30 percent of their strategic nuclear weapons, and a nuclear summit convened in Washington in a bid to secure fissile material from extremists.
China, against this backdrop, has an "awkward" position in atomic diplomacy, according to a Reuters report, which claims that China, as a member of the club of five nuclear-weapons states, shares many developing countries' demands and grievances with that club.

Gu Guoliang, an arms-control expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, criticized the misinterpretation of China's nuclear policy, while stressing that the country, as a responsible nuclear state, pursues a defensive and non-threatening strategy.

"Certain Western politicians, academics and military experts, at a time when major nuclear powers have launched nuclear-reduction moves, jointly lambasted China for its alleged lack of vigorous nuclear non-proliferation measures, and its nuclear strategy and subsequent 'rise' in nuclear might has undermined their interests," Gu told the Global Times.

"China's development of nuclear forces aims to maintain strategic deterrence against nuclear superpowers (that seek to) harness their dominance to interfere in our internal affairs, and to counter the expectant intimidation," Gu added.

"Furthermore, China's nuclear strategy will not pose a menace as the Chinese government explicitly states no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances," Gu added.

"China has maintained a small nuclear stockpile. The limited nuclear weapons are just enough for defensive uses. China always maintains its nuclear forces at the lowest level, the minimum need to preserve national security," He Maochun, professor at Tsinghua University, said.

"China will actively participate in the international nuclear disarmament process and join in the global effort to keep in check nuclear proliferation," He added.
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