Top Chinese general threatens nuclear attack on US
A CHINESE general has threatened to launch nuclear missiles at the United States, warning that hundreds of American cities could be destroyed.
In an unusually forthright briefing to foreign journalists, General Zhu Chenghu speculated on what the response would be if the US attacked China or its military in a war 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," he said, making it clear he was speaking in a personal capacity. The comments appear to contradict China's official policy, which, unlike the US, rejects first use of nuclear weapons.
But hardliners in the People's Liberation Army, such as General Zhu, are known to be pushing for a tough line over Taiwan, which China says it will one day reunify with the mainland, by force if necessary.
The general however also said he personally did not anticipate a conflict.
Nevertheless, his words came at a sensitive time. Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, has just visited, and warned China's leaders that they had to do more to engage with Taiwan. The Chinese foreign ministry noted that he was not speaking on behalf of the government.
A spokesman said it was "looking into" his words. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the remarks "unfortunate". (©Daily Telegraph, London)