China Expanding Regional Nuclear Forces

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Military vehicles carry HQ-6A surface-to-air missile batteries during a parade / AP

 

New cruise, ballistic missiles increase danger of war, report says

China is developing a nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile as part of a military buildup of both its regional and long-range nuclear forces, according to a forthcoming congressional commission report.

A final draft of the annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission presents a dire picture of advancing Chinese military capabilities and declining relations with the United States.

The military buildup of high-tech weapons “makes clear that China seeks the capability to limit the U.S. military’s freedom of movement in the Western Pacific,” the report says.

On the regional nuclear buildup, the report says “China appears to be pursuing a theater nuclear capability in addition to the strategic nuclear capability it has maintained since it became a nuclear state in the 1960s.”

The growth in regional nuclear forces poses new dangers for a future conflict in the increasingly volatile Asia Pacific region, a zone where China added to destabilization through disputed maritime claims while seeking to drive U.S. forces out of the region.

In a conflict, China’s maturing theater nuclear capability could provide it with the means to flexibly employ nuclear weapons to deescalate or otherwise shape the direction of conflict,” the report said.

Additionally, the commission report warns that the U.S. government’s passive approach to “massive” Chinese cyber attacks is likely to encourage further damaging cyber strikes on both government and private computer networks.

“The United States has relied on a passive defense, and the U.S. government has failed to create an overall strategy to counter the increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks on some of its most valuable technology,” the report said.

“A nuclear-capable CJ-20 would indicate China is developing new, air-delivered theater nuclear strike capabilities, in addition to its formidable ballistic missile theater nuclear forces and the strategic nuclear strike capability it has maintained since it became a nuclear state,” the report said.

The missile also could be deployed on Chinese ships and submarines allowing it to target U.S. military facilities in Guam, Hawaii, and Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean.

“Because there are doubts regarding whether U.S. Navy shipboard systems could reliably and adequately defend against intense salvos of China’s advanced Russian-made and indigenous [anti-ship cruise missiles], China’s advancing ASCM technologies are reason for concern,” the report states.

“China is developing cruise missiles that are increasingly difficult for the U.S. military to detect and defend against,” the report said.

China’s ballistic missile forces also are growing more lethal with the addition of multiple warheads and precision guided warheads.

On China’s maritime disputes in the South China Sea, the report outlines new details of the military buildup on some of the 2,900 acres of islands created by Chinese dredging.

“China is building, expanding, and upgrading military and civilian infrastructure on the islands,” the report said. The construction included up to three airstrips, helipads, port facilities, radars, and satellite communication equipment, and antiaircraft and naval guns.”

The report said the island-building is part of a military plan the Pentagon calls “anti-access/area-denial” aimed at preventing U.S. forces, a presence of peace and stability for some 60 years, from operating.

Chinese military forces on the islands could be used to prevent a U.S. defense of Taiwan, as required under the 1972 Taiwan Relations Act.

Full article: China Expanding Regional Nuclear Forces (Washington Free Beacon)

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