U.S. Indo-Pacific commander warns about Chinese nuclear buildup

U.S. Indo-Pacific commander warns about Chinese nuclear buildup

U.S. Indo-Pacific commander warns about Chinese nuclear buildup
Aug 16, 2022 1 min, 51 secs

The commander of American military forces in the Pacific is pushing back against Chinese government claims that a three-nation pact to build nuclear submarines for Australia poses a danger of nuclear weapons proliferation.

Indo-Pacific Command, told reporters in Indonesia after a recent round of U.S.-led military exercises in the region that the sole country creating nuclear weapons fears is China.

“We’re watching the largest military buildup in history since WWII by the PRC,” he said in reference to Pentagon assessments on increasingly aggressive armed forces expansion efforts by China, formally the People’s Republic of China.

Aquilino commented more broadly on Chinese government opposition to the effort by Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States to build nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian navy under a security arrangement called AUKUS.

He added that he has read reports of Chinese complaints about the AUKUS submarine program.

SEE ALSO: Taliban seized more than $7B in U.S.-provided weapons when Afghan government fell.

However, China’s government is rapidly expanding its nuclear forces with the construction of missile silos in western China.

Strategic Command, described China’s nuclear buildup as a “strategic breakout” comparable to the Soviet Union’s nuclear buildup in the 1960s.

The most visible portion of the current Chinese buildup is the expansion from zero to 360 silos for solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles in western China in a few years, Adm.

analysts say is a disinformation campaign to persuade regional states to oppose the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal.

Two Chinese government nuclear research agencies, China Arms Control and Disarmament Association and the China Institute of Nuclear Industry Strategy, issued a report in July urging the international community to stand against the nuclear submarine program.

The report said the program must be halted to “safeguard the integrity, authority and effectiveness of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime.”.

After the report’s circulation, Chinese engineer Zhao Xuelin, with the China Institute of Nuclear Industry Strategy, claimed that weapons-grade nuclear material sent to Australia could produce 64 to 80 nuclear weapons.

Zhao said the program will violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The State Department has said China’s refusal to conduct arms control talks on its nuclear forces is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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