China should build more nuclear arms to prepare for Donald Trump: Global Times

An editorial in the Global Times said that China should increase military spending as a response to US President-elect Donald Trump.
An editorial in the Global Times said that China should increase military spending as a response to US President-elect Donald Trump. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - China should "significantly" increase its military spending and build more nuclear weapons as a response to US President-elect Donald Trump, an editorial in the Global Times newspaper said on Thursday (Dec 8).

China should "build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile" to protect its interests, should Mr Trump attempt to corner the country in an "unacceptable way", it said.

"China's military spending in 2017 should be augmented significantly," it added in the print article run in both English and Chinese editions.

The tabloid, known for its nationalistic streak, is a party-linked media outlet run by the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.  

Chinese officials are sometimes thought to use it as a rhetorical hammer, but have also admonished it for its often bombastic language.

The president-elect frequently slammed China on the campaign trail, even calling it America's "enemy" and pledging to stand up to a country which he said views the United States as a pushover.

But Mr Trump has also indicated he is not interested in projecting US power away from home, saying America is sick of paying to defend allies such as Japan and South Korea - even suggesting they should develop their own nuclear weapons.

The editorial follows a Twitter tirade by Mr Trump earlier in the week, blasting China's trade and foreign policies, as well as a protocol-shattering decision to accept a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a rogue province awaiting unification, by force if necessary.

In the editorial, the Global Times said: "We need to get better prepared militarily regarding the Taiwan question to ensure that those who advocate Taiwan's independence will be punished, and take precautions in case of US provocations in the South China Sea."

On Wednesday, Mr Trump selected Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who has close ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping dating back to the mid-1980s, as ambassador to China - welcome news for Beijing, which called him an "old friend" upon receiving reports of his nomination.

Still, the state-owned China Daily newspaper remained pessimistic about the future of relations with the US.

A Thursday editorial said that though the Asian giant had thus far responded to Mr Trump with "laudable" prudence, further provocations from the unpredictable politician would jeopardise Sino-US ties.

"China has to prepare for the worst," China Daily said. "What has happened over the past weeks tends to suggest that Sino-US relations are facing uncertainty as never before, as Trump's words are not necessarily more bark than bite."