The deployment of a hard-to-track, submarine-launched leg of China’s nuclear arsenal could have significant consequences in East Asia and beyond. It also could add to tensions between the United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies.
Any Chinese effort to ensure a retaliatory capability against a U.S. nuclear strike “would necessarily affect Indian and Russian perceptions about the potency of their own deterrent capabilities vis-Ã -vis China,” the report said, for instance.
ARMS CONTROL TALKS URGED
China is party to many major international pacts and regimes regarding nuclear weapons and materials. But it remains outside of key arms limitation and control conventions, such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed in April 2010 and the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The United States historically has approached these bilaterally with Russia.
The U.S. Congress should require the U.S. State Department to spell out efforts to integrate China into nuclear arms reduction, limitation, and control discussions and agreements, the draft said.
In addition, Congress should “treat with caution” any proposal to unilaterally reduce operational U.S. nuclear forces without clearer information being made available to the public about China’s nuclear stockpile and force posture, it said.
China is estimated by the Arms Control Association, a private nonpartisan group in Washington, to have 240 nuclear warheads. The United States, by contrast, has some 5,113, including tactical, strategic and nondeployed weapons.
CHINA DEPLOYING NEW CLASS OF SUBS