Rogers takes Biden to task for lack of action on China’s nuclear buildup
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, is urging President Joe Biden to get tougher when it comes to China’s growing nuclear weapons stockpile.
In a letter sent to Biden on Tuesday, Rogers and two other Republican ranking members expressed their concern over “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.”
The members pointed to the testimony of Admiral Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, in front of Rogers’ committee as evidence that the Chinese have accelerated their buildup of nuclear weapons.
China has placed a portion of its nuclear weapons on Launch on Warning status and could see its overall stockpile quadruple in the next 10 years, according to Richard. At that rate, the Department of Defense estimates China could have 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030.
The congressmen also referred to a report from Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, which stated that “China is fielding a full Cold War-style triad of nuclear assets.”
Rogers and his colleagues concluded, “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.”
The ranking members additionally asserted that China is in violation of Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of which it is a party. That provision in the NPT requires parties to negotiate in good faith toward arms reductions.
“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. We are left to reach no other conclusion that China is in violation of Article VI of the NPT,” the ranking members warned.
Rogers and his colleagues formally requested that Biden and his administration provide them with “a comprehensive interagency strategy for getting China to enter meaningful arms control negotiations, either bilaterally or trilaterally,” a strategy which they said should include “the full use of our diplomatic, military, intelligence, and sanctions toolbox to bring them to the table.”
The three Republicans pushed the administration to make “a determination as to whether or not China is acting inconsistent with Article VI of the NPT, to include any underlying intelligence indicative of China’s willingness to enter into good faith arms control negotiations as required by the Treaty.”
Finally, they requested “an updated comprehensive unclassified IC assessment of Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization trends” to include “updates to any Russian and Chinese chemical and biological weapons programs.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), ranking member on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), ranking member on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, joined Rogers as signers of the letter to Biden.
Their statement to Biden comes two weeks after the highest-ranking U.S. military officer described the nation’s relations with China and Russia as “fraying.”
In an address to graduates of the United States Air Force Academy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said, “Right now we are in a great power competition with China and Russia. And we need to keep it at competition and avoid great power conflict.”
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia