US nuclear chief sounds alarm over pace of China’s nuclear weapons program



CNN

The commander of the US Strategic Command, which oversees the US nuclear weapons programme, warned that China is developing nuclear weapons much faster than the US and called the issue a “short-term problem”, during a speech at a closed event earlier this week.

While Pentagon officials have been sounding the alarm about China’s military build-up and nuclear weapons development for years, Richard’s comments paint the situation as more serious than other officials have publicly stated.

“As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking,” Adm. Charles Richard said. “It’s slowly sinking in, but it’s sinking in because they’re fundamentally putting capacity in the field faster than we are.”

Richard called the development of China’s nuclear weapons program a “short-term problem.”

“As long as these curves continue, it won’t matter how good we are [operating plan] it is either how good our commanders are, or how good our forces are; we won’t have enough. And that’s a very short-term problem.”

Richard made the comments during a talk at the Naval Submarine League’s annual Symposium on Wednesday. The event was closed to the public, but Richard’s comments were published in a Department of Defense news article on Friday.

The Biden administration has consistently called China America’s top global competitor and warned about the country’s development of its military and nuclear weapons program in a series of policy documents outlining defense and military strategy. of the US published at the end of October.

China is America’s “pace challenge” because it is “the only competitor with the intent and increasingly the ability to systematically challenge the United States across the board, militarily, economically, technologically, and diplomatically,” a senior defense official said of the strategy. .

China “probably intends to possess at least 1,000 deliverable warheads by the end of the decade,” said the Nuclear Posture Review, one of the policy papers, on China’s nuclear weapons program.

Richard warned of China’s nuclear development by 2021, calling its program “strategic disruption”.

“We are witnessing a strategic disruption of China. The explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as impressive, and frankly, that word impressive may not be enough,” said Richard in 2021.

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