BEIJING, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- China has explicitly stated a "no first use of nuclear weapons" policy for the first time, saying its nuclear weapons are not aimed at any country.
The declarations were contained in a white paper on national defense released in Beijing Tuesday, Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency, reported. In it, China's Information Office of the State Council stated its intention to implement "a self-defensive nuclear strategy."
"In peacetime, the nuclear missile weapons of the Second Artillery Force are not aimed at any country," the white paper says. "But if China comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear missile force of the Second Artillery Force will go into a state of alert, and get ready for a nuclear counterattack to deter the enemy from using nuclear weapons against China."
The paper marked the first time Chinese officials have so openly discussed the Second Artillery Force, the country's core force of strategic deterrence. Xinhua said the nuclear forces are under the direct command of the Central Military Commission and is meant to deter nuclear strike from other countries and to carry out nuclear counterattacks.