According to an Indian journalist:

China had asserted before that its NFU would not apply against countries that are in possession of the Chinese territory. That means that China’s NFU does not apply to India as it asserts claims to Indian territories in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Arunachal Pradesh.

I've done a quick search, but I could only find more Indian sources saying something like this. So, can this be confirmed from Chinese sources?

  • The Wikipedia article on NFU doesn't mention this claimed exception in Chinese policy in the section on China, for instance en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_first_use#China Oct 8, 2022 at 21:52
  • I'm also aware that some Western (and Indian) sources have declared/concluded that China's NFU statements are "pure PR", but let's not get into that angle here. I'm interested if China has actually stated the exception claimed in the quote, at some point. Oct 8, 2022 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


We should be clear that in terms of official policy statements, China uniformly expresses a clear and total commitment to its NFU policy. For example, a Chinese government website quotes Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a November 2021 press conference as follows:

China abides by the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances and undertakes unequivocally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally. No country will be threatened by China's nuclear weapons so long as it does not use nuclear weapons against China.

So in terms of official policy, the quoted statement is false. At best, this is a misrepresentation of arguments made by Chinese officials who are critical of the NFU. For a concise summary of such arguments see the relevant brief published by the Jamestown Foundation. Even if we assume that such critics have a strong influence on Chinese military policy (which is apparently not the case) I don't think they justify the statement with respect to India.

  • 2
    The quoted statement is ambiguous. It says "at any time and under any circumstances" and then qualifies that with "against non-nuclear-weapon states". India does possess nuclear weapons. So I presume that "threaten to use" could include "possesses nuclear weapons". Oct 10, 2022 at 19:50
  • 2
    @WeatherVane I don't think the statement is ambiguous at all, the middle section isn't "qualifying" the first part or creating exceptions, it's asserting that the "No-first-use" policy also extends to states which do not have nuclear weapons, and thus those states will not be targeted by China's nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Oct 10, 2022 at 20:53
  • 1
    @WeatherVane As written this statement makes multiple claims related to NFU. First claim, China abides by NFU always under any circumstances. Second claim, China will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, extra emphasis unconditionally.
    – quarague
    Oct 11, 2022 at 12:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .