A+ A-ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Thursday told Iraqi militia groups to dedicate their lives to serving the people and to respect the chain of command, warning them that their reputation is at stake, hours after a prominent militia leader was released and acquitted of terror-related charges, sparking outrage among Iraq’s protest movement.
“If someone who belongs to you commits an offense, do not support him… And if his general commander tries to punish him or investigate him, then wait for the results of the investigation and do not be hasty in leaving him or defending him, for neither the jihadi nor the resister is above making mistakes or receiving punishment,” Sadr said in a message to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic).
“The reputation of the jihadists is at stake, and everyone is responsible for it… Serve your people without discrimination between one race and another or one sect or another,” he added.
PMF leader Qassem Musleh was released on Wednesday after the Supreme Judicial Council said the investigative court did not find any evidence to prove the he was involved in the assassination of a Karbala activist leader, Ihab al-Wazni.
“Qassem Musleh was accused of killing the activist Ihab al-Wazni, but no evidence was presented against him, especially as he proved, according to his passport information, that he was outside Iraq when Wazni was assassinated, and he denied committing or participating in this crime,” the Judicial Council stated, adding that Musleh also did not incite violence against the activist.
Unknown gunmen fatally shot Wazni near his Karbala home in May. In a televised interview with al-Hurra last month, Wazni’s mother said that Musleh threatened to kill her son multiple times.
Musleh’s release was celebrated by the PMF, but condemned by activists who believe the Iraqi government does not have the ability to confront the powerful militias.
Sadr issued a warning to the PMF: “We, the mujahideen were not born for life, nor were we created for chairs, authority and domination. Rather, we were created for the sake of the homeland and the people… No domination, no authority, no chairs, no money, and no fame.”
Musleh was released a day after a top-ranked official from the Iraqi intelligence service was assassinated. The intelligence service was involved in the militia leader’s arrest.
Since the start of the protest movement in October 2019, dozens of activists have been killed and several have been kidnapped and tortured. The killers act with impunity as investigations have yielded few results. Iranian-backed militias affiliated with the PMF, which are under the umbrella of Iraq’s security forces, are widely blamed.
Listen to Today’s Program JD: Coming out of China the state media there urging preparations for a nuclear war with the United States. Boy this is coming out of the old Cold War. It’s heating up pretty hot there is it not Ken?KT: Well it is Jimmy and its something that really we should not be surprised about. The Chinese government is testing the new President in the United States. They think he’s a pushover and they’re going to push. Now you know we’ve spoken many times about China’s nuclear weapons arsenal. It is quite likely much bigger than the official numbers of three to four hundred that they have declared to international organizations. Some sources believe they already have as many as 3,000 nuclear weapons. Now that would be getting close to a par with the United States. What they’re saying here we have an official statement if you wish from the editor of a major state run Chinese newspaper the Global Times, he is a government official stating government policy. He put out an editorial this week this past week talking about China building up its strategic deterrent against the United States and preparing for this intense show down between China and the US. So the Chinese have a new series, a new generation of nuclear weapons. They have something called the DF-41 which is a long range icbm capable of reaching the United States. They also have a new generation of submarine launched missiles. Now what we don’t know is all these missiles appear to be multiple war heads. They could have 8 to 10 war heads. So they’ve got 12 missile launchers on a submarine with 10 war heads. Each submarines has 120 war heads on it right there. That’s enough to take our every major city in the United States.JD: Ken Timmerman reporting on the reality of a nuclear war between China and the United States.We report this information because it is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.The Chinese media who speaks on behalf of the Red Chinese Government says that China is preparing for a nuclear war with the United States. This report sounds like a page out of Bible prophecy. Revelation 16:12 where we find Red China as one of the kings of the east. China will be a key player in partnership with the antichrist just prior to the return of Jesus Christ back to the Earth, that’s Revelation 16:13-16. This media release from Red China is a foretaste of things to come.
In a letter to the president, exclusively obtained by Fox News, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers, House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul, , and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, outlined the threat.
“We write to you today concerning the growing threat posed by the rapid Chinese nuclear build-up, as well as the unwillingness of the Chinese Communist Party to engage with the United States in good faith arms control negotiations,” Rogers, McCaul and Nunes wrote.
The members pointed to recent testimony from Admiral Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, who said China has “moved a portion of its nuclear force to a Launch on Warning posture and has a nuclear weapons stockpile that is expected to at least double, if not triple, or quadruple, over the next decade.”
“Based on most opensource estimates, to include those produced by the Department of Defense, this could bring the size of the deployed Chinese nuclear deterrent to approximately 1,000 warheads by 2030,” they wrote.
The members went on to point to the Annual Threat Assessment presented to Congress by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines earlier this year, which stated that China is “fielding a full Cold War-style triad of nuclear assets—intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-armed bombers and submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles.”
“China’s ballistic missile arsenal is ‘more survivable, more diverse, and on higher alert than in the past, including nuclear missile systems designed to manage regional escalation and ensure an intercontinental second-strike capability,’” they wrote, adding that, “combined, these statements by Admiral Richard and Director Haines mean that China is likely to reach a degree of nuclear parity with the United States by the end of the decade.”
But Republicans said that China, since the Trump administration, “refused to participate in good faith arms control negotiations, either bilaterally or trilaterally.”
“As you are aware, Article VI of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), requires nuclear weapons states to participate in ‘good faith’ negotiations on arms reductions,” they wrote. “Despite China being a party to the NPT, it has not only consistently refused to negotiate in ‘good faith’ but has refused to negotiate at all.”
Republicans added: “We are left to reach no other conclusion that China is in violation of Article VI of the NPT.”
Rogers, McCaul and Nunes went on to request that the president provide “a comprehensive interagency strategy” for getting China to enter “meaningful arms control negotiations, either bilaterally or trilaterally,” while arguing that the strategy should include “the full use of our diplomatic, military, intelligence, and sanctions toolbox to bring them to the table.”
Republicans also urged Biden to provide a “determination as to whether or not China is acting inconsistent” with the NPT, and provide any “underlying intelligence indicative of China’s willingness to enter into good faith arms control negotiations as required by the treaty.”
They also called for an “updated comprehensive unclassified IC assessment of Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization trends,” also including updates to any Russian and Chinese “chemical and biological weapons programs.”
“Over the last decade the threat environment has worsened and become more complicated,” they wrote. “As I’m sure you agree, the time to arrest China’s build-up is now, not after they deploy new delivery systems and materially expand the size of their stockpile.”
They added: “Additionally, the need to continue to modernize the U.S. deterrent is vital to our efforts to deter both Russia and China.”
The letter to the president comes after Haines’ unclassified annual report of worldwide threats noted that China is expected to continue building on its military, and “potentially destabilizing international norms and relationships,” while also continuing “the most rapid expansion and platform diversification of its nuclear arsenal in its history.”
The report says China intends to “at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile during the next decade and to field a nuclear triad.”
Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has warned that China “has rapidly become more assertive” and “is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system.”
In new national security guidance released by the White House in March, the administration discussed the “existential threat” posed by nuclear weapons, saying the U.S. goal is to “reestablish our credibility as a leader in arms control.” The national security guidance said that the U.S. is prepared to engage in “meaningful dialogue with Russia and China on a range of emerging military technological developments that implicate strategic stability.”
With regard to the military threat China – and Russia – poses, the guidance says the Biden administration will ensure that the U.S. armed forces “remain the best trained and equipped force in the world.”
The guidance said the Biden administration would assess the structure, capabilities and sizing of the forces and work with Congress to free up resources for investments in technologies and capabilities that “will determine our military and national security advantage in the future.”
“Taken together, this agenda will strengthen our enduring advantages, and allow us to prevail in strategic competition with China or any other nation,” the guidance said, adding that the “most effective way” for the U.S. to “out-compete” China is “to invest in our people our economy, and our democracy.”
I write about ships, planes, tanks, drones, missiles and satellites.
For years, the U.S. Air Force concentrated its warplanes at just two bases in the western Pacific: for fighters, Kadena Air Force Base in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture; and for bombers and big support planes, Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base.
Beijing eyed these mega-bases and devised a simple strategy for suppressing U.S. air power in the region. Build a couple thousand non-nuclear ballistic missiles and, in wartime, lob them at the bases until their runways, aprons, hangars, fuel tanks and warehouses are nothing but craters.
After years of build-up, the Chinese rocket force possesses around 1,300 ground-launched missiles with sufficient range to hit Kadena and Andersen from mainland China.
The USAF is keenly aware of the threat. It has its own plan for dodging the missile barrages. The idea is to spread out hundreds of warplanes across potentially dozens of smaller bases—thus diluting the striking power of China’s rocket force.
The Air Force won’t say exactly which bases are part of its plan, but it’s possible to make educated guesses. American territories and small island countries offer the most dependable facilities. Arguably the most important bases—in the Philippines—are accessible only at the whim of that country’s mercurial president.
The emerging map of the USAF’s expanding base network also reveals where the service has potential airfield gaps, most glaringly in the Philippine Sea east of Taiwan. In that gap, the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet might lend its sister service a helping hand—and deploy some of its 10 aircraft carriers and big-deck assault ships.
The Air Force maintains a master list of what Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, the head of Pacific Air Forces, described as “every single piece of concrete” in the Pacific region.
“We have a plan for all of those airfields, and some of them meet the criteria and they are therefore part of what we call ‘clusters,’” Wilsbach told Air Force Magazine last year. Some of the bases are main hubs in the network; others are spokes.
Aircraft, fuel, weapons and supplies—not to mention people—would move through the hubs to the smaller spoke bases. The more often people and stuff move, the safer they are from Chinese rockets. That’s the theory.
An alphabet soup of concepts underpins the new base network. The practice of breaking up 20-plane fighter squadrons and dispersing small detachments of jets to outlying bases is called Agile Combat Employment, or ACE. Bomber squadrons are practicing their own dispersal as part of the new Bomber Task Force operation, or BTF.
The Air Force plans to reinforce the most austere airfields with pre-packed sets of equipment under the so-called Deployable Air Base System, or DABS.
To move munitions along the base network, the flying branch has developed a procedure it calls “tactical ferry,” or “tac-ferry,” whereby a fighter such as an F-15E loads up with more bombs than it could ever use in combat and delivers them to whichever small airfield it’s going to be flying from. In essence, saving the weapons for later.
Palau, Micronesia and the Marianas—all small island countries in the mid-Pacific—are keen to host American forces. That adds at least another half-dozen airstrips to the USAF’s list. The Air Force already periodically stages bombers at Darwin in Australia. Add that to the list, too.
Less certain are the airstrips that lies closest to China and the likeliest war zone, Taiwan. They’re all in the Philippines—Clark air base and Thitu Island are two good examples. Before the election of volatile strongman Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, the USAF probably could count on Philippine bases during a clash with China.
But Duterte has courted China and criticized the United States. His administration isn’t a dependable U.S. ally. When Duterte leaves office in 2022, U.S.-Philippine relations could change. And the ACE base network could grow.
It might need to grow more. After all, China’s still building rockets.
I’m a journalist, author and filmmaker based in Columbia, South Carolina.
Some China experts consider the Global Times to be a toothless tiger. Others see it as a loose cannon. On June 1, its editor called for more Chinese nuclear missiles and warheads. Global Times is state-run media, and the country is already in the midst of doubling the number of its nuclear warheads. And, widely-quoted estimates of Chinese nuclear weapons in the low hundreds are an underestimate, if hints from my sources are any indication.
President Joe Biden’s new defense budget reflects these concerning facts as America continues President Trump’s shift from hardware meant for international policing missions, for example in Iraq and Afghanistan, to defense and deterrence of near-peer adversaries like China and Russia.
However, the development of next-generation weapons by both powers, including hypersonic missile technology, may cause hair-trigger alerts and time frames in the minutes rather than hours, for presidential decision-making in a nuclear crisis. This makes the nuclear balance increasingly unstable, due to the advantage given by hypersonic missile technology to the side that strikes first, with only minutes for the other side to respond, if unprepared and without survivable assets like stealthy submarines. The alternative is to lose one’s weapons systems to the enemy’s first strike. China and Russia’s growing belligerence in such an unstable strategic environment are therefore incredibly and unprecedentedly irresponsible.
The proposed U.S. defense budget of $715 billion shifts billions to the nuclear arsenal, hypersonic missile research, radars, satellites, and stealth technology. The proposed 2022 budget, which will be negotiated with Congress, would increase the number of stealth F-35 fighter jets to eighty-five from this year’s request of seventy-nine. The Space Force budget would increase to $17.4 billion from this year’s $15.4 billion.
The U.S. nuclear triad, including land-launched missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and nuclear bombs and missiles launched from aircraft, would be modernized in 2022 with $27.7 billion in expenditures. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that modernizing the nuclear triad, including command and control, and delivery of Columbia-class submarines and nuclear bomb certification of the F-35, will cost on average more than $60 billion annually over ten years, plus additional expenditures to bring the total to more than $1 trillion.
China is building naval ships faster than the United States. But the new budget includes funding for the Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) and the Tomahawk. According to Richard Fisher, Senior Fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, “it is very important that the U.S. purchase a very large number of the SM-6 and modify them for ASBM [anti-ship ballistic missile] missions.”
An additional $38 billion for defense-related programs at the Department of Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies brings the total budget to $753 billion, an increase of 1.7% over 2021’s budget.
These increased defense expenditures for nuclear and other programs will in part be paid by gradually retiring or slowing the production of relatively obsolete surface systems such as tanks, Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), and ground-support tactical aircraft.
Forty-two A-10 aircraft, 18 KC-135, and 14 KC-10 mid-air refuelers, and four Littoral Combat Ships, will be retired. The A-10 aircraft provides close support to ground troops. The number of M1 Abrams tanks purchased will drop from 102 in 2020 to just 70 in 2021, and the number of new surface combatant ships will decrease to eight from this year’s 12.
The budget is a proposal and will be the starting point for White House negotiations with Congress, which has budget authority per the Constitution. But the President’s recommendations carry weight.
And their focus is on countering China with nuclear weapons. China should take note, and work harder to deescalate and resolve its many territorial disputes. But the totalitarian country, and its ally Russia, are instead ramping up their war production. Both Republicans and Democrats are unprepared.
“In the [Biden] Administration’s political realm it is an act of bravery to sustain a Trump era level of defense spending, but in the real world it is simply not sufficient,” wrote Fisher in an email. “Trump pushed hard to reorient the Department of Defense from ‘policing’ campaigns to getting ready to face China and Russia.”
Fisher said that it’s “bad enough that Russia is building for war against the U.S. and NATO, but China is just getting started in building its force for global hegemony. The Biden defense budget is simply not sufficient to win the arms race with China and Russia so it condemns multiple generations of America’s youth to a series of wars, some we will win, others we will lose.”
America, therefore, needs its friends. Our allies in Asia should take note, and obtain their own independent nuclear deterrent systems. Given China’s nuclear modernization, massive industrial base, growing conventional military production, and ubiquitous territorial disputes, China can only be reliably deterred if the U.S. and allies such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia, have robust, independent, and redundant conventional and nuclear deterrent systems.
Otherwise, China could try to pick off America’s allies one-by-one using its conventional military with a nuclear backstop, and leaving the United States with the impossible choice of risking nuclear war or coming to the aid of an ally. The recent experiences of the Philippines and Ukraine, both of which lost territory to superpowers without significant U.S. troop deployments in reaction, and Taiwan, whose defense is not guaranteed by the U.S., are not encouraging. Apparently, democracies are not standing together in each others’ defense.
The dominant form of defense technology long ago became nuclear. Without such systems, our allies risk their own sovereignty, which is an existential threat for them and puts the world’s democratic superpowers, including the European Union and the United States, in jeopardy.
Anders Corr has a bachelor’s/master’s in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. He authored “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (forthcoming in 2021) and “No Trespassing,” and edited “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: The New Game in the South China Sea.”
The U.S. decision to lift restrictions on South Korean missile development could be a blessing in disguise for Pyongyang.
A. B. Abrams
Following a meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on May 21, it was announced that the United States had agreed to lift restrictions imposed on South Korea’s development of ballistic missiles. These restrictions had been gradually relaxed since 2001 to allow South Korea to field longer ranged ground-based missiles with heavier warheads. The lifting of restrictions entirely opens up the possibility of a much more ambitious missile program capable of launching precision strikes across Northeast Asia – and possibly much farther.
North Korea responded on May 31 by condemning the relaxation of restrictions, with the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stating: “It is an apparently deliberate and hostile act that the U.S. lifted the firing range limit, not content with the removal of the warhead weight limit through the approval of several revised ‘missile guidelines.’ The termination of the ‘missile guidelines’ clearly shows who is behind the escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula.”
The article warned that this could allow South Korea to develop hypersonic, submarine launched, and even intercontinental ranged ballistic missiles in a short period, claiming that Washington was seeking to intensify the arms race on the Korean Peninsula by giving Seoul the green light to move ahead with its missile program. Such a possibility was described as “disturbing.” The North Korean state media outlet further claimed that the move was a sign of double standards regarding which of the Koreas is permitted to develop ballistic missile capabilities, stating: “The U.S., doggedly branding the measures taken by the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the official name of North Korea] for self-defense as violations of U.N. ‘resolution,’ grants its allies unlimited rights to missile development. It is engrossed in confrontation despite its lip-service to dialogue. The termination step is a stark reminder of the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and its shameful double-dealing.”
While an unrestricted South Korean ballistic missile program may initially appear to threaten the North, with which Seoul and Washington have been technically at war for over 70 years, assessing the full implications of a less restricted South Korea missile program indicates it may in fact strengthen Pyongyang’s position for multiple reasons.
First, the existing range restrictions for South Korean missiles already allow it to field munitions that can strike anywhere on the Korean Peninsula with warheads of any size – with its latest missiles deploying exceptionally large two ton warheads. This means a lifting of restrictions may not actually have any notable impact on the South’s ability to strike the North, in contrast to the previous loosening of restrictions in 2012 and 2017. The former amendment to restrictions allowed South Korea to field missiles with a range of up to 800 km, which was enough to comfortably cover all of North Korea from almost any launching point the South, while the latter removed all restrictions on warhead weight. Any missile designs that are actually affected by the recent abolition of restrictions will thus likely be focused on striking targets beyond the Korean Peninsula – a capability that will not necessarily harm Pyongyang’s interests.
The lifting of missile restrictions notably comes as part of a growing trend toward greater autonomy for South Korea’s armed forces, with Seoul expected to gain wartime operational command over its military in 2022, when a decades-long arrangement that placed its assets under U.S. wartime command comes to an end. This trend could well lead to a reduced dependence on Washington for protection, and in turn provide Seoul with greater room to conduct policy independently. This has particularly significant implications for its relations with China and North Korea.
China is South Korea’s largest trading partner by a significant margin, but Seoul has come under increasing U.S. pressure to take a hard line against Beijing. The U.S. deployment of THAAD air defenses to South Korea from 2016, and the serious harm this did to diplomatic and economic ties between Seoul and Beijing, provides an example of precisely the kind of situation South Korea hopes to avoid as China-U.S. relations worsen – and greater military independence could better allow it to stay out of a similar predicament in the future.
Furthermore, with South Korea’s ability to improve ties with the North effectively restricted by the U.S., despite the Moon administration having had a strong popular mandate for inter-Korean rapprochement, greater independence from Washington in defense could well facilitate more independence in this area of policymaking as well. South Korea is already considered by some assessments to be one of the world’s five or six most capable military powers, and with command of its own armed forces, an increasingly self-reliant defense sector, and a long-range ballistic missile deterrent the argument that it need depend on U.S. protection would be weakened – thus potentially loosening Washington’s leverage over policy.
Beyond the potential effects the removal of ballistic missile restrictions could have on Seoul’s strategic position, it could also go a long way toward effectively legitimizing North Korea’s own ballistic missile program. Western-led efforts to arbitrarily label North Korea’s development of ballistic missiles as “provocative” have often struggled to stand up to scrutiny, with very similar missile tests in India, Pakistan, Israel, and the West itself treated as normal and legitimate and receiving entirely different coverage. The only outstanding difference between North Korea’s missile program, and those of the three other nuclear weapons states not sanctioned by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, is that Pyongyang’s program is aimed at restricting the military freedom of action of Western states through deterrence. The others, by contrast, are all aimed at deterring non-Western neighboring states in South Asia and the Middle East, and are therefore considered acceptable in the Western-dominated discourse on the issue.
A powerful South Korean missile arsenal would emphasize these double standards with an example much closer to home for Pyongyang, and effectively underline that claims a North Korean missile deterrent is provocative and unacceptable are arbitrary – since the South would be doing precisely the same. A South Korean long ranged missile program could make that of the North look much more legitimate – and do so without significantly harming North Korean security.
While Pyongyang will protest the possibility of an expanded South Korean ballistic missile deterrent, and will seek to use Washington’s green light to an expansion of Seoul’s arsenal and capabilities to highlight the double standards under which its own arsenal has been condemned, in the medium term North Korea’s position is likely to only be strengthened. The extent to which Seoul may seek to increasingly assert its independence from Washington as the country takes greater responsibility for its own defense, as trade with China becomes increasingly central to its economic interests, and as the economic benefitsof potential rapprochement with Pyongyang remain alluring, is yet to be seen.Authors
A. B. Abrams
A. B. Abrams is the author of “Immovable Object: North Korea’s 70 Years at War with American Power” and “Power and Primacy: A History of Western Intervention in the Asia-Pacific.” He has published widely on defense and politics and is proficient in Chinese, Korean and other East Asian languages.
Mr Hu – who once called Australia “gum stuck to China’s shoe” – doubled down on his war cry in a series of posts on the Weibo social media platform. “Given the intensifying US strategic containment of China, I would like to remind once again that we have many urgent tasks, but one of the most important is to keep rapidly increasing the number of nuclear warheads and strategic missiles like the Dongfeng 41 with extremely long-range and high survival capabilities,” Mr Hu wrote in a post translated by Chinese human rights activist Jennifer Zeng.
“This is the cornerstone of China’s strategic resilience against the United States.
“We must be prepared for a high-intensity showdown between the US and China, at which point a large number of DF-41 and JL-2 and JL-3 will be the backbone of our strategic will. “Our nuclear missiles must be so numerous that the US elite will tremble at the thought of military confrontation with China at that time.
“On such a basis, we can calmly and actively manage our differences with the US and avoid all kinds of gunfire.
“As US hostility toward China continues to burn, we need to use our strength and the unbearable risks they would face if they took the risk to force them to remain calm.”
His comments come days after US President Biden ordered the US intelligence community to investigate whether the Covid-19 virus first emerged in China from an animal source or from a laboratory accident – stoking fury from China.
The move hints at growing impatience with waiting for a conclusive World Health Organisation (WHO) investigation into how the pandemic that has killed more than 3.5 million people worldwide began.
During an ongoing meeting of WHO member states, European Union countries and a range of others also pressed for clarity on the next steps in the organisation’s efforts to solve the mystery, seen as vital to averting future pandemics.
The WHO finally managed to send a team of independent, international experts to Wuhan in January, more than a year after Covid-19 first surfaced there in late 2019, to help probe the pandemic origins.
But in their long-delayed report published in late March, the international team and their Chinese counterparts drew no firm conclusions, instead ranking a number of hypotheses according to how likely they believed they were.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, wrote that “the number of China’s nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes US elites shiver.”Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The media mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist government touted the country’s “urgent” goal to expand its arsenal of long-range nuclear missiles in anticipation of an “intense showdown” with the US.
“As the US strategic containment of China has increasingly intensified, I would like to remind again that we have plenty of urgent tasks, but among the most important ones is to rapidly increase the number of commissioned nuclear warheads, and the DF-41s, the strategic missiles that are capable to strike long-range and have high-survivability, in the Chinese arsenal,” wrote Hu Xijian, the editor of the Global Times.
“The number of China’s nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes US elites shiver should they entertain the idea of engaging in a military confrontation with China,” he said in the opinion piece.
On this basis, we can calmly and actively manage divergences with Washington to avoid a minor incident sparking a war. US hostility toward China is burning. We must use our strength, and consequences that Washington cannot afford to bear if it takes risky moves, to keep them sober,” Hu wrote, adding that Beijing must be ready for the “intense showdown.”
The agencies have a 90-day deadline to come back with a report on their findings.
Biden, while making the announcement, blamed China’s lack of transparency for hindering earlier investigations into the origins of the coronavirus — a pandemic that has killed 3.5 million around the world and caused massive economic pain.
“Back in early 2020, when COVID-19 emerged, I called for the CDC to get access to China to learn about the virus so we could fight it more effectively. The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of COVID-19,” he said.
The cost jumped $140 billion in just 2 years. Here’s why.By Kyle Mizokami MAY 26, 2021
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) estimate of nuclear weapon expenditures over the next decade has jumped a staggering $140 billion in just 2 years.
The estimate, which the agency provided to Congress to give an idea of how much it will take to build new missiles, ships, and planes, as well as revamp America’s vast nuclear infrastructure, comes as key members of the legislature are pushing to cut nuclear weapons spending over the next 10 years.
The CBO’s “Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces 2021 to 2030” report estimates spending on nuclear weapons between 2021 and 2030 will cost $634 billion. That’s 28 percent higher than in 2019, when the CBO last published an estimate for nuclear spending between 2019 and 2028. The agency says the bulk of the increase is due to inflation and the inclusion of new nuclear programs set to start between 2028 and 2030.
The Pentagon hasn’t spent much—relatively speaking, of course—on new nuclear weapons systems in the 30 years since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. operates just one intercontinental ballistic missile (the Minuteman III), 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines fitted with the Trident II D-5 missile, and a mixture of B-52 and B-2 bombers.
The Minuteman III dates to the 1970s, while the Ohio-class submarines launched in the 1980s, and the bombers are a mixture of 1960s and 1990s aircraft. With the possible exception of a stealth bomber or two, the Pentagon hasn’t built a major nuclear delivery system in the 21st century.
But the U.S.’s spending holiday on nukes is coming to a head. While the Pentagon has updated the three legs of the nuclear triad—ICBMs, submarines, and bombers—the branch has new versions of all three systems in the pipeline.
The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) missile is set to replace Minuteman III, the Columbia-class missile submarines will replace the older Ohio class, and the new B-21 Raider bomber will replace the B-2. The Pentagon also plans to introduce new nuclear-tipped aircraft and submarine-launched cruise missiles.
The B-21 Is the Coolest Plane We’ve Never Seen The 2-year increase accounts for upgrades to nuclear weapons laboratories, fuel processing facilities, testing grounds, and other sites. Like the weapons inventories themselves, these sites have been passed over for funding as nuclear weapons have taken a backseat to counterterrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CBO estimates it will cost approximately $142 billion to modernize these sites over 10 years.
The high cost of nuclear weapons is leading calls to cuts in nuclear modernization. The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, which Congress introduced this week, calls for cuts amounting to $78 billion.
The cuts include canceling the GBSD ballistic missile, Long Range Stand Off nuclear cruise missile, and the new submarine-launched nuclear-armed cruise missile. The SANE Act would also reduce the number of active warheads by 500 warheads to 1,000, limit nuclear warhead production, kill the modernization of other warheads, and retire the B83 nuclear gravity bomb, which is the largest warhead in the U.S. arsenal at 1.3 megatons (1,300,000 tons of TNT).
Does a Nuclear ‘Dyad’ Make More Sense? In killing off a replacement for the Minuteman III, the SANE Act would effectively reduce the nuclear arsenal from a triad of land-based missiles, submarines, and bombers to a dyad of submarines and bombers.
This would save a lot of money in the long run (the total GBSD acquisition costs are an estimated $100 billion) but it could also increase technical risk, as a flaw found in the remaining nukes could suddenly sideline hundreds of weapons. How much risk is the U.S. willing to accept while Russia and China operate hundreds of nukes of their own?
GENEVA (Reuters) – China is resisting bilateral talks with the United States on nuclear weapons, the U.S. disarmament ambassador told a U.N. conference on Tuesday, as Washington seeks to advance efforts to reduce nuclear arms stockpiles.
“Despite the PRC’s dramatic build-up of its nuclear arsenal, unfortunately it continues to resist discussing nuclear risk reduction bilaterally with the United States,” said Robert Wood, referring to the People’s Republic of China.- ADVERTISEMENT -https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-6-0/html/r-sf-flx.html
“To date Beijing has not been willing to engage meaningfully or establish expert discussions similar to those we have with Russia. We sincerely hope that will change,” he added.
In an apparent rebuttal, China’s envoy later told the same virtual U.N. meeting that Beijing was prepared for dialogue.
“We stand ready to carry out positive dialogue and exchange with all parties to jointly explore effective measures to reduce nuclear risk and to contribute to global strategic security,” Ji Zhaoyu said.
The exchange came at a discussion on the Prevention of Nuclear War at the 65-member U.N. Conference on Disarmament based in Geneva. The body, which makes decisions by consensus, has not reached a major agreement in decades but is often the theatre for tense rhetorical exchanges between superpowers.
Earlier this year, Russia and the United States agreed to extend the New START arms control treaty for five years, preserving the last treaty limiting deployments of the world’s two largest strategic nuclear arsenals.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden are set to discuss arms control and security issues at a meeting and strategic nuclear stability will be on the agenda. Wood said on Tuesday he hoped that such bilateral discussions may lay the groundwork for nuclear disarmament and future arms control treaties.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Catherine Evans, William Maclean)