China Calls For Negotiations On Global Nuclear ‘No-First-Use’ Policy


In a decisive move toward global nuclear disarmament, China has called on the countries with the most extensive nuclear weapons capabilities to start negotiations for a treaty that would commit to a “no-first-use” policy. This proposal was presented by Sun Xiaobo, Director General of the arms control department of the Chinese foreign ministry, citing the need for the largest nuclear states to adhere to their foremost duties in nuclear disarmament, according to the objectives of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament.

During a meeting in Geneva, Sun advocated for the creation of a clear roadmap or timetable for the formulation of an international legal instrument. Such a tool would serve to shield states without nuclear capabilities from the threat of nuclear arms. Highlighting the stance of China and India, which currently uphold a formal no-first-use policy, Sun’s call to action also includes the idea that nuclear states might, at the very least, issue a political declaration to affirm this intent.

Sun’s call is not merely focused on nuclear armaments but extends to creating a universal, equitable, and non-prejudicial order for nuclear non-proliferation and export control. This is to address the wide spectrum of global security challenges and to ensure greater adherence in the realm of biochemical fields, thus preserving the integrity of the arms control treaty framework.

Moreover, Sun emphasized the necessity for the U.N. disarmament forum to engage with the burgeoning scientific and technological domains that pose new security challenges, such as artificial intelligence, space exploration, and cybersecurity. He provided a critical assessment of the current international strategic security landscape, noting that the most militarily potent countries have on occasion forsaken treaties in pursuit of overarching dominance.

The timing of this initiative is particularly poignant, as it reflects China’s strategic perspective on global security and its role in it. The proposal underscores a vital aspect of international relations and disarmament, especially as the world grapples with rapid technological advancements and the shifting dynamics of power.

At a pivotal juncture for global nuclear dynamics, with the United States and Russia holding the most extensive nuclear arsenals, China’s proposal for a no-first-use treaty heralds a potential evolution to a more regulated and legally committed nuclear stance. Engaging in these negotiations could represent a move to lessen the dangers linked to nuclear armaments, thereby advancing towards an international climate of enhanced stability and security, which aligns with the United States’ interest in safeguarding its national security.