U.S. allies urge Biden not to declare ‘no first use’ policy

The Associated Press
U.S. president Joe Biden

Japan, Britain, France and other U.S. allies are urging the United States not to declare a “no first use” policy, under which the country would not use nuclear weapons unless it was attacked with nuclear weapons.

Maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrence is essential for the security of each country, according to Japanese government sources.

In an article published in the U.S. magazine Foreign Affairs last year, U.S. President Joe Biden said: “I believe that the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal should be deterring — and, if necessary, retaliating against — a nuclear attack.”

A “no first use” policy is expected to be an issue for consideration in the Nuclear Posture Review, which the U.S. administration has been working on since summer.

However, the military balance is tilting in favor of China over Japan and the U.S., as China has outpaced the U.S. in the development of hypersonic weapons that are difficult to intercept.

“[The Japanese government is concerned that] ‘no first use’ would send the wrong message to China and other countries, and would diminish deterrence capabilities,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

Japan informally conveyed this concern to the United States after the Biden administration took office.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wants to hold talks with Biden in the United States before the end of this year.

Kishida hopes to reaffirm the provision of “extended nuclear deterrence,” under which the U.S. would retaliate with nuclear weapons or other means in the event of an armed attack on an allied country.