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China welcomes extension of New START nuclear treaty, responds to U.S. accusation

(Xinhua)    10:35, February 06, 2021

BEIJING, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- China welcomes the extension of the New START nuclear-arms control treaty for five years, as agreed by the United States and Russia, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

"It is conducive to upholding global strategic stability and promoting international peace and security, and meets the aspirations of the international community," spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing.

The treaty was set to expire on Feb. 5. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday that the U.S. had decided to extend it. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law extending the treaty for five years.

The United States and Russia are the two countries with the largest nuclear arsenals, possessing more than 90 percent of nuclear weapons in the world.

"The two sides should follow the international consensus, fulfill their special and primary responsibilities on nuclear disarmament, and further drastically and substantively reduce their nuclear stockpile in a verifiable, irreversible and legally-binding manner, so as to create the conditions for realizing general and complete nuclear disarmament," Wang said.

The spokesperson also resolutely rebuked Blinken's groundless accusation of the "dangers from China's modern and growing nuclear arsenal," saying the number of nuclear weapons in China's arsenal is not in the same order as the United States and Russia.

"China firmly upholds a nuclear strategy that is defensive in nature and always keeps nuclear strength at the lowest level required for the maintenance of national security," Wang said.

China is also committed to not using nuclear weapons first at any time or under any circumstances, and pledges unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones.

As the only nuclear-weapon state that has made the above commitments, China has contributed greatly to the international nuclear-disarmament process, he noted.

China will continue to participate in discussions on issues related to strategic stability within such frameworks as the cooperation mechanism of the five nuclear-weapon states, the Conference on Disarmament and the UNGA First Committee, and is willing to maintain communication with all parties on issues relating to nuclear-arms control through bilateral channels, he said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Bianji)

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