China expanding nuclear arsenal does not reflect ‘minimal deterrence’, warns US

New Delhi: China has stepped up its aggressive posture toward the US and its regional allies in recent years, and a top US general has warned of Beijing’s expanding nuclear arsenal, adding that it does not reflect minimal deterrence. General Anthony Cotton of the United States Air Force made these remarks while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. According to the Washington Post, the general told lawmakers considering his nomination to lead the United States Strategic Command that the military’s assessment of China’s nuclear capabilities had changed dramatically since 2018. Earlier, Beijing was judged as requiring “minimal nuclear deterrence” and the Pentagon`s nuclear posture review had assessed China`s ambitions as being focused on “regional hegemony,” the general said, the Washington Post report noted.¬†

It is worth noting that the top general is US President Joe Biden’s choice to lead the US military’s nuclear arsenal and missile defence operations. The general warned on Thursday that China’s rise as a nuclear power poses historical threats and challenges that necessitate a rethinking of current policies.

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“We have seen the incredible expansiveness of what they`re doing with their nuclear force — which does not, in my opinion, reflect minimal deterrence. They have a bona fide triad now,” Cotton said explaining that the Chinese military has nuclear-capable forces that operate on land and in the air and sea. Another interesting point brought up by the general is that the US approach to Russia will not work for China in addressing the nuclear threat. He went on to say that the United States is well aware of Russia’s nuclear ambitions, which date back decades to the Cold War.

Beijing and Moscow, the general said, “act differently, from a doctrine`s perspective,” reported The Washington Post. Historically, Beijing did not possess the arsenal of the two major Cold War superpowers, nor were its nuclear ambitions regarded in Washington as the same as Moscow`s intensity. “We need to seriously consider that we are entering a new, trilateral nuclear competition era,” the committee chairman, Rhode Island Democratic Senator Jack Reed told Cotton.”You will be responsible for continuing to ensure that the United States and its allies can deter not one, but two near-peer nuclear adversaries, something your predecessors did not face.”

(With Agencies Inputs)

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