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Washington's missile plan reckless: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-17 20:14

This Aug 18, 2019 photo provided by the US Defense Department shows the launch of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California. [Photo/IC]

If there is still any doubt over China's resolve to safeguard its national security, especially when it is under direct threat on its doorstep, listen again to Fu Cong.

The director general of the Department of Arms Control of the Foreign Ministry reiterated China's firm opposition to the announced plan by the United States to deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region during a seminar on international security in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Wednesday. He also said China is willing to work with other countries to maintain global strategic stability and reduce the risks of nuclear conflicts.

Should the US go ahead with the provocative move, China "would have no choice but to take necessary countermeasures in defense of its national security", Fu said, while urging the US and other countries concerned "to exercise restraint and prudence on this matter".

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in August that he was in favor of deploying ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia in the near future, immediately after Washington withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that previously banned such missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Two weeks later, the US tested a nuclear-capable cruise missile which can hit a target more than 500 km from the launch site, sparking worries that a new nuclear arms race reminiscent of the Cold War era is on the horizon.

The US has targeted China as its main adversary in the Asia-Pacific region. Esper has tried to justify his potentially adventurous plan by claiming that 80 percent of China's arsenal inventory comprises intermediate-range missiles and the US thus must have "a like capability".

But China has long made it clear that it pursues a defensive national defense policy, and it has adopted a policy of "no first use of nuclear weapons". Apart from the huge gap in the size of China's nuclear arsenal compared with those of the US and Russia, its medium-range missiles will not in any way be able to reach the main territory of the United States.

Exaggerating China's missile threat is nothing but a pretext for the US, which already has thousands of intercontinental missiles, to seek absolute military superiority at the expense of China's national security.

The US missile plan will undoubtedly disrupt the existing strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific, thus jeopardizing peace and security in the region.

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