Military expert rebukes HK media over untrue nuclear test remarks

On May 29, a Chinese military expert rebuked Hong Kong media over their untrue remarks regarding China’s frequent simulated nuclear tests, Chinese newspaper Global Times reported Wednesday.

An article published by Hong Kong English-language newspaper South China Morning Post on Monday, said that China had carried out around 200 laboratory experiments to simulate the extreme conditions of a nuclear blast between September 2014 and last December.

China is aggressively developing its next generation of nuclear weapons, said the newspaper, citing a major Chinese weapons research institute and adding that the country is conducting an average of five tests a month to simulate nuclear blasts.

Although an international ban prevents nuclear weapons from being tested, the major nuclear powers have been able to continue conducting simulated tests, the report said. The newspaper goes on to say that over the past three years, Chinese nuclear scientists have performed more of these tests than their American counterparts have in 15 years.

Chinese military expert Yang Chengjun responded to the report on Tuesday. He told Global Times that he had no idea where the figures in the report came from. The expert introduced that many world powers such as the U.S., Russia, the U.K. and France, are conducting similar nuclear experiments, but the reported “five tests a month” is over exaggerated. Such a high frequency is not necessary for any simulated test, he explained.

Apart from conducting related studies, simulated tests are also used to verify the effectiveness of nuclear weapons, since all these weapons have a designated life expectancy of 30 years, the expert reasoned.

The South China Morning Post said that as China joins the U.S. and Russia in pursuing more targeted nuclear weapons as a deterrent against any potential threat, the looming arms race could in fact serve the opposite purpose by increasing the risk of nuclear conflict.

However, Yang stressed that China possesses the least number of nuclear weapons among the five nuclear-weapon states under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. China will never compete with other nuclear powers, he said, adding that the country will never change its current policy that refuses to be the first to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance.