China growing nuclear program as US top threat
August 31, 2021
China, which is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, will soon overtake Russia as the U.S highest nuclear threat, a senior US military official warned on Friday, warning that the two countries lack methods to prevent confusion.
According to US Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas Bussiere, the deputy commander of the US Strategic Command, which monitors the country’s nuclear program, China’s advancement of nuclear technology “can no longer be affiliated” with the country’s public complaint of wanting to retain a minimum nuclear deterrent. Bussiere said in an online forum “There will come a point, a tipping point, where the number of strike proposed by China will surpass the growing threat presented by Russia”.
He stated that the decision will not be simply based on the number of nuclear devices piled up by Beijing, but also on how they are “tactically competed.” Bussiere said, “We presume there will be a transition juncture over the next few years”. He added, unlike Russia, the US did not have any accords or dialogue measures in place with China to “help mitigate any misapprehensions or uncertainty”.
Bussiere’s remarks come at a time when the US is trying to reconfigure its foreign policy in order to place a higher attention on the Indo-Pacific region in order to overcome China’s growing economic and military power. During a session with foreign ministers from Asian countries and partner nations in early August, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed its concern about China’s increasing nuclear stockpile. According to think-tank reports based on satellite imagery, it seemed to be building hundreds of new nuclear missile silos, and Washington has alleged Beijing of blocking nuclear arms talks.
China claims that its spurs dwarf those of the U.S. and Russia which is willing to engage in dialogue if Washington diminishes its nuclear capability to China’s level. The Pentagon approximated China’s operational nuclear weapon stockpile to be in the “low 200s” in a 2020 report to Congress, and said it was expected to at least double in size as Beijing grows and innovates its forces. According to a State Department fact sheet on March 1, the U.S had 1,357 nuclear missiles implemented.
According to Bussiere, China’s recent advancements in warhead technology to deliver those nuclear devices is also a source of concern for the US, who claims that China evaluated more nuclear missile capabilities last year than the rest of world united.