GOP lawmakers worried about Chinese nuclear buildup

By John Liang / June 9, 2021 at 10:33 AM

Three House Republicans want the Biden administration to toughen its stance against China's perceived nuclear weapons buildup.

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers (AL), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (TX) and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Devin Nunes (CA) sent a letter to President Biden this week urging him to expose China's rapidly expanding nuclear program and bring that country into "meaningful" arms control discussions.

"Over the last decade the threat environment has worsened and become more complicated," they write. "As we're 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."

The lawmakers want Biden to provide them three things:

"1. A comprehensive interagency strategy for getting China to enter meaningful arms control negotiations, either bilaterally or trilaterally. This strategy should include the full use of our diplomatic, military, intelligence, and sanctions toolbox to bring them to the table.

"2. A determination as to whether or not China is acting inconsistent with Article VI of the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], to include any underlying intelligence indicative of China's willingness to enter into good faith arms control negotiations as required by the Treaty.

"3. An updated comprehensive unclassified [intelligence community] assessment of Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization trends, similar to those which [former Defense Intelligence Agency Director] Lt. Gen. [Robert] Ashely made at the Hudson Institute on May 29, 2019. We additionally request that this includes updates to any Russian and Chinese chemical and biological weapons programs."

Rogers, McCaul and Nunes also call on the president to accelerate efforts to modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent and related infrastructure.

"[T]he need to continue to modernize the U.S. deterrent is vital to our efforts to deter both Russia and China," they write.