CHINA’S NUKE BUILDUP QUES­TIONED

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

As Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping meets with Pres­i­dent Trump in Florida this week, the com­man­der of the Strate­gic Com­mand is warn­ing that China’s nu­clear buildup is rais­ing ques­tions about Beijing’s de­clared pol­icy of not be­ing the first to use nu­clear weapons in a con­flict.

“Al­though China still pro­fesses a ‘No First-Use’ doc­trine, it is re-engi­neer­ing its long-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles to carry mul­ti­ple nu­clear war­heads,” Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten said in pre­pared Se­nate tes­ti­mony made pub­lic Tues­day.

China also is con­tin­u­ing to de­velop and test its hy­per­sonic-glide ve­hi­cle ca­pa­bil­ity, a weapon that has un­der­mined U.S. nu­clear de­ter­rence strat­egy.

Gen. Hyten in­di­rectly crit­i­cized the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pol­icy of re­duc­ing U.S. mil­i­tary reliance on nu­clear weapons, not­ing the pol­icy spurred both China and Rus­sia to in­crease reliance on nu­clear weapons and to ag­gres­sively mod­ern­ize and ex­pand their ar­se­nals.

“Our ad­ver­saries have taken the ex­act op­po­site view of our de-em­pha­sis and have em­pha­sized those nu­clear ca­pa­bil­i­ties once again,” he said.

A ma­jor worry is China’s de­vel­op­ment of ul­tra-high-speed hy­per­sonic ma­neu­ver­ing strike ve­hi­cles. The weapons are launched atop bal­lis­tic mis­siles and then ac­cel­er­ate to speeds of more than 7,000 miles per hour. The high speeds make them dif­fi­cult to de­tect and stop since they can out­fly most anti-missile in­ter­cep­tors.

Hy­per­sonic mis­siles are “very sig­nif­i­cant in terms of our abil­ity to see them and pro­vide warn­ing,” he said. “We need to fig­ure out how to do [that] with those.”

The gen­eral sounded the alarm about the ag­ing U.S. nu­clear ar­se­nal and de­liv­ery sys­tems that need to be up­graded to main­tain de­ter­rence against the new and grow­ing Rus­sian and Chi­nese nu­clear mis­siles, sub­marines and bombers.

“I’m ask­ing for help on mod­ern­iz­ing our en­tire forces and mak­ing sure we have the force struc­ture that is needed to make sure we can de­ter, not only to­day, but into the fu­ture,” he said.

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