During May 6 press conference, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded to Admiral Charles Richard’s remarks. Previously, at a hearing on May 4, Richard said China was monitoring the war in Ukraine closely. He also stated that China would likely use nuclear coercion to their advantage in the future.

Zhao said that China followed a self-defensive nuclear strategy. He added that China kept its nuclear forces at the minimum level required to safeguard national security. He went on to say that China opposed any form of “China nuclear threat” theory.

According to Defense News, Admiral Charles Richard warned Congress about the escalated nuclear deterrence posed by China.

Charles Richard is the head of U.S. Strategic Command. On May 4, he mentioned the war in Ukraine and China’s nuclear trajectory. He said that China’s nuclear trajectory demonstrated that the U.S. had a deterrence and assurance gap based on the threat of limited nuclear employment.

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