In response to what it called “continued aggression and theft of territory”, Huenya announced today that it is renouncing its no-first-strike policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons.
“We continue to face Imperial-sponsored terrorism and theft of our land by the Xiomeran Empire, and that shows no signs of ever changing. Based on that, the Huenyan Federation must rescind the policy of the previous administration regarding when and how we might use nuclear weapons to defend ourselves,” a statement from the office of Vice-Speaker Xiadani read. The statement went on to clarify that Huenya would only use nuclear weapons against an attacking enemy “if the Federation were under imminent threat of conquest or destruction” but did add that Huenya “will no longer wait for an enemy to use nuclear weapons against us before using our own, should the survival of Huenya be at issue.”
Huenya possesses 40 strategic nuclear missiles that were left behind by retreating Xiomeran forces at the end of the Second Xiomeran Civil War. The country also possesses an unknown number of tactical nuclear weapons lost by Xiomeran forces at the end of that conflict. In its statement today, Huenya also threatened to rescind its previous promises to not use tactical nuclear weapons against Xiomeran-backed separatists.
In response to the Huenyan policy shift, the Xiomeran government labeled it “a desperate move by a dying nation that should never have existed in the first place” and warned it would retaliate in kind if Huenya took any such action. Prime Minister Toquihu also warned that Xiomera “may well decide we have to go into Huenya and get our missiles back, if they are going to make such threats towards us.”
Despite the Imperial bluster, however, the threat by Huenya seems to have had an effect on the ground. Imperial forces have reportedly pulled back 2 miles from the Gulf of Epeloc that separates Huenya and Xiomera. Golden Blade forces have also ceased many of their attacks, and have accelerated efforts to consolidate their gains in specific regions of Huenya rather than acquire new territory.
Foreign policy experts have said that the Huenyan statement appears to be meant more as a warning to Xiomera than an imminent threat. “Xiadani and her government were shaken to the core by the attack on Chuaztlapoc, and there is a growing determination within the halls of power in Huenya that Xiomera must be made to take Huenya seriously,” Sylvester Wade, a foreign policy analyst with DTNS, said. “Leveraging the biggest trump card that Huenya has to play, its nuclear arsenal, is definitely a way to impress upon Tlālacuetztla and its proxies that the Huenyans are serious about not being pushed around anymore.” The fear that such brinksmanship could easily take both countries over the edge, however, “is very real and something the international community should be concerned about.”