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China’s nukes are entirely for self-defense, says defense minister

China has said the primary purpose of its nuclear weapons is self-defense and while it has made “impressive progress” in expanding its nuclear arsenal over time, it has no intention of use them for another reason. During the Shangri-La Dialogue on Sunday, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe was asked about reports suggesting that China has created about 100 new nuclear missile silos in the last year alone. Fenghe did not respond directly but said China “has always followed an appropriate path to develop protective nuclear capabilities.”

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“China has been developing its capabilities for more than five decades. It’s fair to say that there has been impressive progress. China’s policy…is consistent. We use it for self-defense. We don’t we won’t be the first to use nuclear (weapons),’ the defense minister said according to a Reuters report.

Last year, the United States Department of State expressed some concerns about China’s growing arsenal of nuclear weapons and even decided to ask China to engage with them “on practical measures to reduce the risks of destabilizing arms races” in order to continue to maintain peace.

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Fenghe made it clear that the ultimate goal of the nuclear arsenal China currently possesses is to deter or completely prevent nuclear war. There was no comment on reports that China is increasing its weapons, but he said all that exist are fully functional.

“We have developed nuclear capabilities to protect the hard work of the Chinese people and protect our people from the scourge of nuclear war,” he said.

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