Chi­nese nukes

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security -

Kurt Camp­bell, the as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for East Asia, said in a speech this week that U.S. of­fi­cials are frus­trated by the fail­ure to de­velop a di­a­logue with China on nu­clear weapons.

“I will tell you that I think one of the frus­tra­tions that the U.S. side has had for sev­eral years now, not sim­ply in this ad­min­is­tra­tion, is that we have had a de­sire to have a deeper di­a­logue be­tween Amer­i­can and Chi­nese friends ex­actly about the pur­poses of their force mod­ern­iza­tion and the di­rec­tion that mod­ern­iza­tion has taken.”

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion cur­rently is work­ing on a nu­cle­ar­pos­ture re­view to ex­am­ine the cur­rent and fu­ture nu­clear arse­nal, and Mr. Camp­bell said China “will fea­ture im­por­tantly.”

“I think you will see that [De­fense] Sec­re­tary [Robert M.] Gates and oth­ers, [un­der­sec­re­tary of De­fense] Michele Flournoy at the Pen­tagon, will over the course of the next lit­tle while make a pitch for a deeper di­a­logue be­tween our two sides about th­ese is­sues,” Mr. Camp­bell said.

“I think we have to rec­og­nize that as a grow­ing [. . . ] power, China will have mil­i­tary am­bi­tions, but I think it is in­cum­bent upon Chi­nese friends to be much clearer and much more open not just with the United States, but with sur­round­ing neigh­bors [. . . ] about what their goals and am­bi­tions are.”

China has balked at hold­ing sub­stan­tive dis­cus­sions on its nu­clear-weapons pro­gram, which is cur­rently be­ing built up with at least three new strate­gic nu­cle­armis­sile sys­tems — the mo­bile DF-31, DF-31A ICBMs, and the sub­ma­rine-launched JL-2.

Mr. Camp­bell also said he be­lieves global cli­mate change could prove to be the most se­ri­ous na­tional-se­cu­rity threat in the years ahead.

“I think that the most im­por­tant na­tional-se­cu­rity chal­lenge that we may face over the course of the next 20 to 30 years may turn out to be cli­mate change,” Mr. Camp­bell said. “I don’t think that there is enough of a recog­ni­tion that cli­mate change is not just a hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sue, it’s not sim­ply an is­sue as­so­ci­ated with en­ergy se­cu­rity. It is a na­tion­alse­cu­rity is­sue. It will trig­ger the very kinds of things that we have to re­spond to on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

Mr. Camp­bell spoke Oct. 19 at a con­fer­ence hosted jointly by the Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions and the Project 2049 In­sti­tute, an Asian af­fairs re­search in­sti­tute.

He said dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion ear­lier this year Navy of­fi­cials were “ex­tremely ex­cited by some as­pect of cli­mate change be­cause large parts of the Arc­tic will melt and so a whole new class of sub­marines” would be needed.

“So af­ter about an hour I said, ‘You know, guys, [that’s] very in­ter­est­ing stuff, but you do re­al­ize that if you’re see­ing this amount of melt that, you know, all of Florida, much of the United States will be un­der­wa­ter, a huge en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe.’ “

Mr. Camp­bell said a se­nior ad­mi­ral told him melt­ing ice caps are pos­si­ble but “all this flood­ing, that’s all com­pletely un­cer­tain, that hasn’t been proved.”

“So my sim­ple state­ment is I do think that some of the chal­lenges that are com­pletely un­re­lated to mil­i­tary power, the path and pace of de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion, is­sues as­so­ci­ated with a fo­cus else­where on the globe could be com­pletely over­whelmed by the path and pace of global cli­mate change un­less it is ad­dressed go­ing for­ward,” he said.

Still, Mr. Camp­bell noted that mil­i­tary fric­tion be­tween the United States and China is ex­pected in the years ahead. Both na­tions need to pro­mote “strate­gic re­as­sur­ance,” to avoid mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion, he said. The new term was first used re­cently by Deputy Sec­re­tary of State James Stein­berg.

Mr. Camp­bell called for hold­ing a more com­pre­hen­sive di­a­logue with China. “Over the course of the next sev­eral years, decades, it is in­evitable that China’s go­ing to be­come a more ac­tive player in a va­ri­ety of mil­i­tary fields, and as a con­se­quence, they’re go­ing to rub up more closely against for­ward-de­ployed Amer­i­can as­sets,” he said.

Ef­forts to de­velop “rules of the road” with China have been in­suf­fi­cient, and the rules are needed to help iden­tify “red lines,” he said. Mil­i­tary ex­changes with China are not enough, and Mr. Camp­bell said he fa­vors a “more com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity di­a­logue that in­volves not just the men and women in uni­form, but has a broader con­text and con­tour be­tween our two or­ga­ni­za­tions and our two so­ci­eties.”

Mr. Camp­bell, a for­mer Pen­tagon Asia pol­i­cy­maker, said the de­bate on whether to keep the large U.S. mil­i­tary pres­ence in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion is over. “One of the things that I note among the strate­gic com­mu­nity is I think in many re­spects that de­bate has passed and I think there are large com­mit­ments po­lit­i­cally to sus­tain this enor­mous ca­pa­bil­ity that’s been cre­ated and sus­tained over the years,” Mr. Camp­bell said.

Ear­lier, Aaron L. Fried­berg, a Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor and for­mer ad­viser to for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney, warned that the fu­ture of U.S.Chi­nese re­la­tions are un­pre­dictable and will de­pend on whether China re­mains a dic­ta­tor­ship or evolves into a more demo­cratic sys­tem.

“At present, I think it’s fair to say that the Sino-Amer­i­can re­la­tion­ship is pro­foundly mixed,” Mr. Fried­berg said. “It con­tains im­por­tant el­e­ments of both com­pe­ti­tion and co­op­er­a­tion.”

Mr. Fried­berg noted that un­like the con­ven­tional wis­dom, “the com­pet­i­tive as­pects of the re­la­tion­ship are in fact deeply rooted.”

“They’re not merely the re­sult of mis­per­cep­tions or mis­un­der­stand­ings or pol­icy er­rors, al­though th­ese do con­trib­ute on both sides,” he said. “They are in­stead, I be­lieve, the prod­uct of two fun­da­men­tal fu­tures of the con­tem­po­rary in­ter­na­tional sys­tem.”

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