China Should Alter Nuclear “No First Strike Policy” To Counter US Pressure: Ex-Diplomat
The AUKUS pact that was revealed last week to the shock and dispmay of France and the EU, which will involve the US transferring nuclear submarine technology to Australia, has resulted in continued nuclear jawboning out of China this week.
First, as we detailed earlier in the week a Chinese state-linked analyst and expert announced to “23 million Australians” in a prime time interview with an Aussie national broadcaster that “Australia will lose that privilege of not being targeted with nuclear weapons by other countries” – as Victor Gao put it to the stunned interviewer.
Following these comments, former diplomat Sha Zukang – who previously served as the longtime Chinese ambassador for disarmament affairs to the UN – told a conference in Beijing on Thursday that China should review its “no first strike policy” in the wake of recent developments.
The speech, which was first reported in the South China Morning Post, called for China’s leadership to “fine tune” its nuclear policy as a counterweight to the ongoing pressure campaign coming from Washington and its allies in the Indo-Pacific. It follows Chinese officials denouncing plans for the US to deliver at least eight nuclear-powered subs to Australia.
While Beijing is accusing Australia of reneging on its commitment to a nuclear free zone, particularly calling it out as a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Canberra officials are differentiating nuclear-powered technology from the deployment of nuclear arms.
Here’s what the influential and now retired ambassador Zukang said in part in his remarks:
“The strategic pressure on China is intensifying as [the US] has built new military alliances and as it increases its military presence in our neighborhood,” he said.
For the most part, Sha clarified that China ought to keep its “no first strike policy” for most countries, but may start thinking differently for the US. The policy, Sha said, may not apply between China and the US unless the two nations “negotiate a mutual understanding on no first use of nuclear weapons, or unless the US ceases to take any negative measures that undermine the effectiveness of China’s strategic forces.”
So while suggesting the menacing prospect of a dramatic reversal of its current no first strike policy for some countries, it appears Zukang is arguing a reversal or at least tweaking of China’s stance would inevitably hasten a future nuke treaty with the US, though which in reality would obviously remain a huge gamble in terms of removing a key barrier to the prospect of nuclear confrontation.
Also recall, ironically enough, that this is happening as China lobbies Australia to support its entry into the CPTPP trade partnership – which would of course help Beijing prop up those soon-to-be-needed-even-more trade surpluses, structurally.
Fri, 09/24/2021 – 19:40
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