"China's nuclear deterrent capabilities clearly need to be strengthened," he said. "China has a land border of 22,000 kilometers (more than 13,670 miles), with its sea border stretching for 18,000 kilometers (more than 11,184 miles). Today five countries have a right to have nuclear weapons and five more nations de facto have nuclear arms. … Some of them do not have friendly relations with China."
In addition, there are countries capable of creating nuclear weapons, the scientist said, citing Japan as a case in point. Should Tokyo decide to develop its own nuclear armaments, it will create a "major threat" to China.
Yang Chengjun added that Beijing's nuclear capabilities are not targeted against other countries, including the United States, but are meant to protect China's "state and economic interests," which have expanded due among other things to the One Belt, One Road initiative, a signature project of President Xi Jinping.
Chinese leadership "has to think about protecting these interests," he said, adding that China's military and nuclear forces are instrumental in this respect.
However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry told Sputnik that these reports were unfounded.
"This is only speculation and conjecture circulating online," the ministry said in a statement, adding that China and Russia have consistently promoted "comprehensive strategic partnership and cooperation" with each other.
The alleged DF-41 deployment was unveiled earlier this week.
Defense analyst Viktor Baranets told Radio Sputnik that the DF-41 has "prime fuel, sighting system and multiple warhead dispensing mechanism, as well as extremely powerful nuclear warheads."
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