· Moscow denounces “anti-Russian” policy
The Russian government and China has derided the revised United States (US) nuclear policy targeting both countries arms advancement.
Moscow on Saturday denounced the “bellicose” and “anti-Russian” nature of new US nuclear policy, warning it would take necessary measures to ensure its own security.
“The bellicose and anti-Russian nature of this document is obvious,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that it was “deeply disappointed”.
“We must take into account the approaches that are now circulating in Washington and take necessary measures to ensure our security,” the ministry said.
The Pentagon on Friday revealed plans to revamp its nuclear arsenal, largely in response to Russian actions in recent years.
The United States already has a massive nuclear arsenal, including 150 B-61 nukes stored across multiple European countries that can be configured for low-yield options.
The new weapons envisioned by the Pentagon would be launchable from submarines or ships, so would not need to be stockpiled in Europe.
Moscow also said the move was “an attempt to put into question (Russia’s) right to legitimate defence”.
“We hope that Washington is conscious of the high level of danger,” the new policy represents, it said.
The document is filled “with all sorts of anti-Russian clichés” and “ends with unfounded allegations” that Russia has breached agreements on arms control.
The foreign ministry said Russia would “strictly respect its obligations in respect to all the international accords.”
The US says Russia has developed, tested and deployed an intermediate-range missile system that breaks its commitments under a 1987 treaty between Washington and the Soviet Union.
Moscow has repeatedly denied claims that its recent deployment of a land-based missile system breaks the treaty.
China accuses US of ‘Cold War mentality’
China has urged the US to drop its “Cold War mentality” after Washington said it planned to diversify its nuclear armoury with smaller bombs.
“The country that owns the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, should take the initiative to follow the trend instead of going against it,” China’s defence ministry said on Sunday.
The US military believes its nuclear weapons are seen as too big to be used and wants to develop low-yield bombs.
Russia has already condemned the plan.
Iran’s foreign minister claimed it brought the world “closer to annihilation”.
What is the new US policy?
The US is concerned about its nuclear arsenal becoming obsolete and no longer an effective deterrent. It names China, Russia, North Korea and Iran as potential threats.
The Pentagon document released on Friday, known as the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), argues that developing smaller nuclear weapons would challenge that assumption. Low-yield weapons with strength of under 20 kilotons are less powerful but are still devastating. The policy also proposes:
- Land-based ballistic missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and air-delivered weapons – to be extensively modernised, as begun under ex-President Obama
- Proposed modification of some submarine-launched nuclear warheads to give a lower-yield or less powerful detonation
- Return of sea-based nuclear cruise missiles
Countering the “growing threat from revisionist powers”, such as China and Russia, was at the heart of America’s new defence strategy announced last month.
What did China say?
China said on Sunday it “firmly” opposed the Pentagon’s review of US nuclear policy.
The defence ministry in Beijing said Washington had played up the threat of China’s nuclear threat, adding that its own policy was defensive in nature.
“We hope that the United States will abandon its Cold War mentality, earnestly assume its special disarmament responsibilities, correctly understand China’s strategic intentions and objectively view China’s national defence and military build-up,” its statement said.
China has used the Cold War label before to criticise US policy. Late last year it denounced Washington’s updated defence strategy and urged the US to abandon “outdated notions”.
In the NPR document, the US accused China of “expanding its already considerable nuclear forces” but China defended its policy on Sunday saying it would “resolutely stick to peaceful development and pursue a national defence policy that is defensive in nature”.
How did others react?
The Russian foreign ministry accused the US of warmongering, and said it would take “necessary measures” to ensure Russian security.
“From first reading, the confrontational and anti-Russian character of this document leaps out at you,” it said in a statement on Saturday.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed “deep disappointment” at the plan.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif argued the proposals were in violation of the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Credits: AFP, BBC