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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

CHINESE GENERAL'S NUKE THREAT "IRRESPONSIBLE": AUSTRALIAN PM

Central News Agency

2005-07-19 13:00:45

    Washington, July 19 (CNA) The statement made by a Chinese major general that China could use nuclear weapons against the United States was " irresponsible, " Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Monday in Washington, D.C.

    Speaking at a news conference held after his meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the prime minister also said that he does not think the remark reflects the view of the government in Beijing.

    Major General Zhu Chenghu of the People's Liberation Army made the threat to the United States a few days ago at an official briefing for international journalists, saying that "if the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition onto the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons."

    In response to a question raised regarding his views about the general's remarks, Howard said: "I've already said publicly that I thought his remarks were irresponsible, and I couldn't believe that they would represent the views of his government."

    Meanwhile, Rumsfeld, who accompanied Howard to the media gathering, also told reporters that it will be interesting to see to what extent the general's remarks do or do not mirror the views of the Chinese government. "I think I'd prefer to wait and see what transpires there, " he said.

(By Jorge Liu and P.C. Tang)

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