China undertaking ‘expansion of nuclear arsenal’ says expert
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The US is growing increasingly concerned as its hopes of thwarting China’s military growth hits a major stumbling block. This week, the US’ second-most senior military commander said that British soldiers will be invited into a “combat cloud” with the US to help combat Beijing. General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained how the plan will see British soldiers access US information systems on the ground in the event of a conflict.
Concerns around the Chinese government’s foreign and defence policy has been mounting in recent years.
In the South China Sea, Beijing’s forces have laid claim to over 90 percent of the waters in contravention to international law, angering many other Asian neighbours.
Domestically, the Chinese Communist Party’s treatment of Uighur Muslims and the people of Hong Kong has also resulted in international condemnation.
General Hyrten has warned the US has a “shrinking” advantage over China on a military front, adding that this could prove crucial for the “future of the world.”
He said: “Holy cow, we’ve become bureaucratic in everything we’ve done over the last 20 years. That’s OK when you don’t have a threat staring you in the face.
“But right now we have significant threats staring us in the face, China in particular. Right now, they’re building a military capability that is enormous, new capabilities in nuclear, space, hypersonic missiles, cyber.
“If you’re competing with a nation for the future of the world, the goal has to be to have your liberal way of democracy work in the future.”
In Washington, fresh concerns have arisen over China’s cyber attack capabilities after the US was beaten comprehensively in a classified Pentagon wargame in October.
The exercise sought to simulate a cyber-war with China over Taiwan, the Telegraph reported.
General Hyten revealed that US information systems were knocked out at the start of the wargame, and that its strategy of massing forces in one place left them a sitting target.
He added: “Without overstating the issue, it failed miserably. An aggressive ‘red team’ that had been studying the United States for the last 20 years just ran rings around us. They knew exactly what we were going to do before we did it.
“What happens if, right from the beginning, information is not available? And that’s the big problem that we faced.”
China has continued its efforts to assert dominance in the dispute over Taiwan this week.
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The Chinese military has conducted yet another drill featuring assault landing and island-control exercises, Chinese state media reported on Tuesday, continuing its training to boost soldiers’ combat readiness in case of insurgency in the Taiwan Strait.
The ruling Chinese Communist party considers Taiwan to be a province of China despite the party never having ruled the island, and has vowed to take it by force if necessary.
The US warned Beijing earlier this month to show restraint in the Taiwan and Hong Kong disputes.
Kurt Campbell, coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the US national security council, said he had been clear in expressing “dissatisfaction” over the Hong Kong crackdown in part because there was “a clear sense” that Chinese officials were quietly assessing the global response to see what it told them about how the world might react over Taiwan.
He added: “I just want to underscore that such an effort would be catastrophic.”
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