China is engaging in a massive nuclear arms buildup that includes submarines, bombers, and ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
U.S. defense officials, including Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command Adm. Charles A. Richard, have publicly testified that China’s nuclear arsenal will double, if not triple or quadruple, within a decade.
Adm. Richard warns that the scope and scale of these activities should be considered a ''strategic breakout by China.''
Satellite images published recently reveal that China is building more than 300 new intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile (ICBM) silos in its western desert — plus an unexpected revelation that it recently began work on a similar site near Ordos City not previously associated with ICBMs.
This silo-based component of China’s nuclear force alone could be larger than the 1,550 operational nuclear warheads permitted to the U.S. or Russia under the 2009 New START agreement, and could exceed the total number of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons by 2030.
But there are more.
China’s newest ICBMs are being deployed in a rail and road-mobile configuration which can be stored and hidden away in a 3,100-mile network of tunnels stretching throughout the country.
According to the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies, one of those missiles—a long-range DF-41 ICBM—is designed to deliver as many as 10 independently targetable warheads, or MIRVs, with nuclear yields ranging from 20 to 250 kilotons.
China’s recently discovered missile field under construction is estimated to be able to hold more than 100 new DF-41 ICBMs.
This capability, along with a new submarine-launched missile with six warheads and a new strategic bomber, could allow China to deploy more than 3,000 warheads on top of the 350 existing warheads.
In addition, China has six new nuclear submarines equipped with JL-3 missiles, hypersonic missiles capable of evading U.S. missile defenses along with nuclear-capable H-6 bombers.
Although China’s silo-based missile system was being set in place a decade ago, Beijing has since developed a triad of land, sea and air-based nuclear capabilities estimated to contain roughly 550 nuclear warheads, of which 250 are operationally deployed.
In comparison, the U.S. has an estimated 3,800 warheads, with 1,357 deployed for use and the rest in storage. Whereas this is a larger warhead stockpile than China, only about two-thirds of those weapons are ''operationally unavailable'' because of New START treaty constraints.
Beijing’s alarmingly rapid nuclear buildup evidences a major strategic military priority change that most particularly threatens U.S. defense and deterrence goals to help protect Indo-Pacific allies.
This development also means that for the first time in history, the U.S. will have to contend with two major adversaries possessing substantial nuclear arsenals and upsetting the rules-based international agreement which has existed since the end of World War II.
Unlike the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, China had never developed more than a few hundred nuclear weapons because Beijing’s ''minimal force'' doctrine had promised never to use them as a first strike strategy, but only in retaliation against an enemy attack.
China’s recent aggressive military buildup clearly underscores Beijing’s determination to become the world’s leading global economic and military power by midcentury. This aspiration was articulated by President Xi Jinping in 2011, becoming adopted in 2017 by the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China as formal policy.
China’s expansive naval warfare investments leave no doubt that they are being built to address aggressive global rather than defensive regional security goals.
By 2030, these naval forces are expected to comprise an estimated 416 surface vessels and 99 manned and unmanned submarines, while the U.S. will have a maximum of 350 manned and unmanned surface ships and 66 submarines.
China is also adding a capacity to control the sea from land, a flexible capability to augment its naval forces almost anywhere in the world. This was demonstrated in August 2020 when it launched an intermediate range missile from western China, and a medium range ballistic missile from eastern China.
All these various military buildup programs are being coordinated by a Strategic Support Force established in 2016 to integrate China’s comprehensive cyber, space, electronic and information warfare with its nuclear warfare development and operations.
On the space warfare front, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is known to be creating an array of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons designed to overwhelm U.S. orbital assets.
The CCP’s growing arsenal of ASATs includes missiles, cyberweapons, satellite jamming devices, high-powered lasers designed to blind satellites from the ground as they pass overhead, and human-controlled ''inspector'' satellites equipped with arms to knock rival satellites out of orbit.
Earlier this year, the chief of operations for the U.S. Space Force testified that both Russia and China were continuing the development of electronic warfare packages, signal jammers, and directed energy weapons.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has drastically cut the size of its nuclear arsenal since the end of the Cold War, and JoeBiden has promised to further reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy.
This is occurring as Democrats have flatlined the budget for military spending in their proposed multi-trillion legislation packages.
Incredulously, President Biden claimed the reason for his hasty and disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal was to pivot attention to China, while at the same time freely ceding control of the highly strategic U.S. Bagram Air Base overlooking China, Russia and Iran to Beijing.
So yes, the feckless Biden Afghan abandonment offers Taiwan very good reason to question the same administration’s commitment and courage to stand with it in defense against an unambiguously threatened China takeover.
The rest of the free world, very much including America, have much to worry about as well.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, "What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional," (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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