The Financial Times reports a Chinese general said on Thursday that China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. if China is attacked by the U.S. during a confrontation over Taiwan:
“If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” said General Zhu Chenghu.
Gen Zhu was speaking at a function for foreign journalists organised, in part, by the Chinese government. He added that China's definition of its territory included warships and aircraft.
“If the Americans are determined to interfere [then] we will be determined to respond,” said Gen Zhu, who is also a professor at China's National Defence University.
We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.
According to the Financial Times, General Zhu is a self-acknowledged “hawk” who has warned that China could strike the US with long-range missiles.
The article also quotes Rick Fisher, a former senior US congressional official and an authority on the Chinese military, as saying "the specific nature of the threat 'is a new addition to China's public discourse'. China's official doctrine has called for no first use of nuclear weapons since its first atomic test in 1964. But Gen Zhu is not the first Chinese official to refer to the possibility of using such weapons first in a conflict over Taiwan."