Sunday, April 11, 2010

China faces nuclear diplomacy with awkward baggage

clipped from www.reuters.com

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Hu Jintao takes tricky baggage to the nuclear security summit opening on Monday, representing a superpower in the making that is a relatively small nuclear arms state, wary of its big peers.

The meeting in Washington D.C. hosted by President Barack Obama will focus on making atomic sites and materials safer from theft and terrorist attack, not broader questions about arms controls and cuts.

"China wants to be grouped with the recognized (nuclear) weapons states, but also wants to be seen as a voice for the demands of the non-nuclear developing world,"

For all its rising wealth and military spending, China keeps a relatively small stockpile of perhaps 200-240 nuclear warheads. Since China conducted its first nuclear test in 1964, it has said it will never be the first to use such weapons in any conflict.

Yet China is gradually upgrading its nuclear missiles, developing new submarines capable of firing nuclear missiles.
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