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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 16, 1964

STATEMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

This document was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation

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    The Government of China announces its successful nuclear test but states that it will follow a no first use policy and in fact desires for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
    "Statement of the Government of the People's Republic of China," October 16, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 105-01262-01, 22-26. Obtained by Nicola Leveringhaus. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134359
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STATEMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

October 16, 1964

China exploded an atom bomb at 15:00 hours on October 16, 1964, and thereby conducted successfully its first nuclear test. This is a major achievement of the Chinese people in their struggle to increase their national defence capability and oppose the U.S. imperialist policy of nuclear blackmail and nuclear threats.

To defend oneself is the inalienable right of every sovereign state. And to safeguard world peace is the common task of all peace-loving countries. China cannot remain idle and do nothing in the face of the ever increasing nuclear threat posed by the United States. China is forced to conduct nuclear tests and develop nuclear weapons.

The Chinese Government has consistently advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. Should this have been realized, China need not develop the nuclear weapons. But this position of ours has met the stubborn resistance of the U.S. imperialists. The Chinese Government pointed out long ago that the treaty on the partial halting of nuclear tests signed by the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union in Moscow in July 1963 was a big fraud to fool the people of the world, that it tried to consolidate the nuclear monopoly held by the three nuclear powers and tie up the hands and feet of all peace-loving countries, and that it not only did not decrease but had increased the nuclear threat of U.S. imperialism against the people of China and of the whole world. The U.S. Government declared undisguisedly even then that the conclusion of such a treaty does not at all mean that the United States would not conduct underground tests, or would not use, manufacture, stockpile, export or proliferate nuclear weapons. The facts of the past year and more fully prove this point.

During the past year and more, the United States has not stopped manufacturing various nuclear weapons on the basis of the nuclear tests which it had already conducted. Furthermore, seeking for ever greater perfection, the United States has during this same period conducted several dozen underground nuclear tests, thereby further perfecting the nuclear weapons it manufactures. In stationing nuclear submarines in Japan, the United States is posing a direct threat to the Japanese people, the Chinese people and the peoples of all other Asian countries. The United States is now putting nuclear weapons into the hands of the West German revanchists through the so-called multilateral nuclear force and thereby threatening the security of the German Democratic Republic and the other East European socialist countries. U.S. submarines carrying Polaris missiles with nuclear warheads are prowling the Taiwan Straits, the Tonkin Gulf, the Mediterranean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, threatening everywhere peace-loving countries and all peoples who are fighting against imperialism, colonialism and neocolonialism. Under such circumstances, how can it be considered that the U.S. nuclear blackmail and nuclear threat against the people of the world no longer exist just because of the false impression created by the temporary halting of atmospheric tests by the United States?

The atom bomb is a paper tiger. This famous saying by Chairman Mao Tse-tung [Mao Zedong] is known to all. This was our view in the past and this is still our view at present. China is developing nuclear weapons not because we believe in the omnipotence of nuclear weapons and that China plans to use nuclear weapons. The truth is exactly to the contrary. In developing nuclear weapons, China's aim is to break the nuclear monopoly of the nuclear powers and to eliminate nuclear weapons.

The Chinese Government is loyal to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. We believe in the people. It is the people who decide the outcome of a war, and not any weapon. The destiny of China is decided by the Chinese people, and the destiny of the world by the peoples of the world, and not by the nuclear weapon. The development of nuclear weapons by China is for defence and for protecting the Chinese people from the danger of the United States launching a nuclear war.

The Chinese Government hereby solemnly declares that China will never at any time and under any circumstances be the first to use nuclear weapons.

The Chinese people firmly support the struggles for liberation waged by all oppressed nations and people of the world. We are convinced that, by relying on their own struggles and also through mutual aid, the peoples of the world will certainly win victory. The mastering of the nuclear weapon by China is a great encouragement to the revolutionary peoples of the world in their struggles and a great contribution to the cause of defending world peace. On the question of nuclear weapons, China will neither commit the error of adventurism nor the error of capitulationism. The Chinese people can be trusted.

The Chinese Government fully understands the good wishes of peace-loving countries and people for the halting of all nuclear tests. But more and more countries are coming to realize that the more the U.S. imperialists and their partners hold on to their nuclear monopoly, the more is there danger of a nuclear war breaking out. They have it and you don't, and so they are very haughty. But once those who oppose them also have it, they would no longer be so haughty, their policy of nuclear blackmail and nuclear threat would no longer be so effective, and the possibility for a complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons would increase. We sincerely hope that a nuclear war would never occur. We are convinced that, so long as all peace-loving countries and people of the world make common efforts and persist in the struggle, a nuclear war can be prevented.

The Chinese Government hereby formally proposes to the governments of the world that a summit conference of all the countries of the world be convened to discuss the question of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and that as a first step, the summit conference should reach an agreement to the effect that the nuclear powers and those countries which may soon become nuclear powers undertake not to use nuclear weapons, neither to use them against non-nuclear countries and nuclear-free zones, nor against each other.

If those countries in possession of huge quantities of nuclear weapons are not even willing to undertake not to use them, how can those countries not yet in possession of them be expected to believe in their sincerity for peace and not to adopt possible and necessary defensive measures?

The Chinese Government will, as always, exert every effort to promote the realization of the noble aim of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons through international consultations. Before the advent of such a day, the Chinese Government and people will firmly and unswervingly march along their own road of strengthening their national defences, defending their motherland and safeguarding world peace.

We are convinced that nuclear weapons, which are after all created by man, certainly will be eliminated by man.