Will follow nuclear policy of self-defence: China

China Thursday said there was no change in its policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, days after the country tested a new long range intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple war heads which could hit targets at a range of 12,000 kms.

PTI| Updated: Dec 25, 2014, 18:36 PM IST

Beijing: China Thursday said there was no change in its policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, days after the country tested a new long range intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple war heads which could hit targets at a range of 12,000 kms.

"China has the legitimate right to conduct scientific tests within its borders. The tests are not targeting any country or targets," Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Col Yang Yujin told a media briefing here.

He was responding to questions about recent US media reports about its next generation intercontinental ballistic?missile, the DF-41 which could reach almost all parts of United States.

Yang said there is no change in China's policy of no first of use of nuclear weapons.

"What needs to be pointed is that China pursues a nuclear policy of self defence. Its policy of no first use of nuclear weapons has not changed," Yang said.

Last week the Washington Free Beacon reported that the PLA conducted the full test of the DF-41 involving multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles on December 13.

Other media reports said the?missile?can carry up to 10 warheads, which separate from the rocket body during the final, third stage of flight and target individual cities.

The DF-41 flight test, using an unknown number of inert manoeuvring warheads, is being viewed by US intelligence agencies as a significant advance for China's strategic nuclear forces and part of a build-up that is likely to affect the strategic balance of forces, the Beacon which earlier reported on Chinese missile tests said.

China's nuclear arsenal is estimated to include around 240 very large warheads. That number is expected to increase sharply as the Chinese deploy new multiple-warhead?missiles.

The current deployed US strategic warhead arsenal includes 1,642 warheads, the Beacon report said.

About modernisation of China's military, Yang said after many years of pain staking efforts of modernisation, Chinese armed forces made notable achievements.

"We are still lagging behind in certain areas compared to the most advanced countries in the world", Yang added.