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The Pentagon is concerned amid a rise in “troubling” reports that cooperation is increasing between Moscow and Beijing regarding China’s efforts to build new nuclear weapons. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Department of Defense (DOD) made an official accusation regarding the reports.
The Assistant Defense Secretary for Space Policy, John F. Plumb, said during a Wednesday House Armed Services’ strategic forces subcommittee hearing, “It’s very troubling to see Russia and China cooperating on this.”
“They may have talking points around it, but there’s no getting around the fact that breeder reactors are plutonium, and plutonium is for weapons. So I think the [Defense] Department is concerned. And, of course, it matches our concerns about China’s increased expansion of its nuclear forces as well because you need more plutonium for more weapons,” Plumb added.
Despite Plumb’s comments during the hearing, the DOD appeared to have a hard time keeping up with which radioactive material Russia was supplying to China.
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Plumb also discussed Beijing diversifying its high-tech weapons arsenal with assistance from Russia. Changes to the arsenal include high-altitude surveillance balloons, like the one shot down by the U.S. last month, and even hypersonic missiles with nuclear tips.
“China is engaged in a significant and fast-paced expansion and diversification of its nuclear forces. Also, Russia and China view space as a warfighting domain,” Plumb told the subcommittee.
Meanwhile, Congressmen are calling on the Biden administration to disrupt the relationship between China and Russia to interrupt the sharing of weapons technology between the two countries.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), who is the subcommittee chairman, said, “I’m hopeful that we will see a comprehensive strategy from the administration to break this relationship – and ideally shatter Rosatom.”
The DOD’s accusations come dangerously close to the recent pull out of Russia from the New START nuclear arms treaty, with Putin announcing last month that Moscow was suspending the agreement.
Lamborn said about the New START suspension and the exchange of treaty-mandated nuclear information, “It is curious that we provide Russia with this benefit under the treaty when Russia is no longer reciprocating.”
Many in Washington are beginning to view the Russian and China ‘threats’ as intertwined, largely in part to Russia’s war in Ukraine and Beijing’s continued support for Moscow.
In recent weeks, American intelligence has begun to report that Beijing is considering providing lethal weapons to Russia for its use in Ukraine.
Last week Rep. Mike Tuner (R-OH) told NBC’s Meet the Press, “The problem with China entering this is because you’ve got the West giving weapons to Ukraine.”
“You’ve got Russia depleting their stores. We obviously – the West together have an ability to impact Ukraine greater than Russia alone does,” Turner added.
Unfortunately, with China’s backing, Russia would become a much more powerful enemy for Ukraine and its Western allies to contend with. In the meantime, the U.S. government continues put pressure on Beijing over its ‘no limits’ partnership with Moscow.
- U.S. Intel Finds China, Russia, Iran And North Korea Pose Complex Threats To U.S.
- CIA: U.S. ‘Confident’ China Is Considering Sending Lethal Weapons To Russia