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China for no-first-use of atomic weapons

April 30, 2012 21:22 IST

Promising to strictly adhere to policy of no-first-use of atomic weapons, China on Monday called on other nuclear weapons states to "abandon the nuclear deterrence policy based on first use".

"China had adhered to the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstance" Cheng Jingye, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna said.

"The nuclear-weapon states should unequivocally undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and negotiate and conclude the Treaty on Mutual No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons", he was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

He was speaking at the Preparatory Committee for 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at Vienna.

"To earnestly reduce the risks of nuclear weapons, nuclear-weapon states should abandon the nuclear deterrence policy based on the first use of nuclear weapons", Chen stressed.

The Chinese stand may not go down well with its strategic ally, the Pakistan military.

According to Wikileaks document attributed to former US ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson, Pakistan's army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani does not support President Asif Ali Zardari's "no-first-use" nuclear policy.

"Although he has remained silent on the subject, Kayani does not support Zardari's statement to the Indian press that Pakistan would adopt a 'no first use' policy on nuclear weapons", according to US diplomatic cables released by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks last year.

"Despite increasing financial constraints, we believe that the military is proceeding with an expansion of both its growing strategic weapons and missile programs," according to "scenesetter" cables sent by Patterson.

The cable was part of Wikileaks documents released last year.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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