China accuses USA of 'cold war mentality' over nuke policy

US China will need to work together for their armies to become a stabilising factor in Sino-US relations and in the region | Reuters

US China will need to work together for their armies to become a stabilising factor in Sino-US relations and in the region | Reuters

In a statement issued by China's Ministry of Defence on Sunday, the United States was urged to drop its "Cold War mentality" and not misread its military build-up.

The document released on Friday by the Pentagon, known as the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), argues that developing smaller nuclear weapons would challenge that assumption.

US military institutions believe their current nuclear arsenal is too powerful to serve as an effective deterrent to other nuclear powers.

Mr Trump gave the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated before he took office, a final reprieve last month but warned European allies and Congress they had to work with him to fix "the disastrous flaws" in the pact or face a USA exit.

The German response to the USA nuclear review comes on the heels of condemnations from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

"That is why precisely we in Europe must begin new initiatives for arms control and disarmament".

The review, the first of this kind since 2010, also calls for a "lower-yield" option with less powerful explosive capacity for ballistic and cruise missiles launched from submarines. Bringing back sea-based nuclear missiles.

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Soon after, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was "disappointed" by the document for its "confrontational and anti-Russian character", while Iran claimed USA policy would bring the world "closer to annihilation".

The NPR states that both China and Russian Federation have "added new types of nuclear capabilities to their arsenals, increased the salience of nuclear forces in their strategies and plans, and engaged in increasingly aggressive behaviours, including in outer space and cyberspace".

Historically a close USA ally and key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, nuclear weapons were a divisive issue in Germany's Cold War politics. Late previous year it denounced Washington's updated defence strategy and urged the United States to abandon "outdated notions".

In the NPR document, the USA 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".

The Russian foreign ministry accused the USA of warmongering, and said it would take "necessary measures" to ensure Russian security.

Russia's foreign minister called the move "confrontational" and expressed "deep disappointment".

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif argued the proposals were in violation of the worldwide nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

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