CHINA’S NUKE BUILDUP QUESTIONED
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.