Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Does China Want A Nuclear Arms Race?

China's road-mobile ICBMs. Chinese Defense

Melissa Hanham, Foreign Policy: China’s Happy to Sit Out the Nuclear Arms Race

While Putin and Trump push for bigger arsenals, Beijing has all the nukes it'll ever need.

While U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin preen and compare the size of their nuclear arsenals, China has been quite modest on the subject. This macho dance doesn’t interest Beijing. Why? Isn’t bigger always better? For decades, when it comes to nuclear weapons, the answer from China has been a resounding no. The rest of the world would do well to consider their reasons why.

In his last defense speech of 2016, Putin argued that his country needed to “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.” It wasn’t clear from the speech whether Putin seeks to improve nuclear warhead delivery systems in order to confuse American missile defense, or whether he will seek to increase the number of weapons deployed to overwhelm them, or even deploy cyber-capabilities to weaken the ability to respond. Perhaps it’s a strategy, perhaps it’s just rhetoric. U.S. ballistic missile defense efforts — particularly in Europe and Asia — have been a sore spot for both Russia and China.

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WNU Editor: Here is a Russian take on China's nuclear ambitions .... Say Hello to China's ICBMs (Sputnik).

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