Chinese Communist Party officials shared a video threatening the launch of nuclear missiles against Japan.
The video, which was originally posted Sunday by the Chinese military commentary website Liu Jun Tao Lue, declared China would "continuously" deploy nuclear arms against Japan if it came to the aid of Taiwan following a Chinese invasion. A Communist Party committee in central China shared the video after the original channel removed it.
#CCP Vows to Nuke #Japan if Japan defends #Taiwan. As Japan is the only country that has been nuked, so nuking Japan "will get twice the result with half the effort."
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) July 13, 2021
"When we liberate Taiwan, if Japan dares to intervene by force, even if it only deploys one soldier, one plane, and one ship, we will not only return reciprocal fire but also start a full-scale war against Japan," the narrator says. "We will use nuclear bombs first."
If confirmed by Beijing, such a claim would prove a major departure from China’s stated military strategy. Since 1964, China has pledged to not use a nuclear weapon first in a conflict, a linchpin of the United States's own nuclear deterrent policy. Risking nuclear war in a potential showdown over Taiwan could have dire consequences.
Japan on Tuesday released its 2021 defense strategy, which mentions the defense of Taiwan for the first time. In July, Japanese deputy prime minister Taro Aso had raised the possibility of joining the United States in the defense of Taiwan.
China also appears to be gaining ground in developing its own nuclear strength. Satellite images released in June show the construction of 100 nuclear missile silos in the Gobi Desert. A June report claimed China increased its nuclear arsenal by 30 missiles in the past year.
Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, are pushing to limit the United States's nuclear capabilities, even as top military officers warn about the threat from China. A July letter drafted by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) urged the Biden administration to cut the United States's only ground-based missile defense program.
The narrator in the threatening video also warns that China will not stop lobbing missiles at Japan until an unconditional surrender is reached.
"If Japan interferes militarily in our internal affairs, including the unification of Taiwan by the mainland, nuclear weapons will surely be used against Japan," the narrator says, "and will be used continuously until its unconditional surrender. There will be no peace talks in the meantime."
The National Security Council did not respond to a request for comment.