China nuclear triad expansion threatens US trade deal
President Trump threatened to kill the trade deal and slap new tariffs on $325 billion on Chinese imports after the U.S. Department of Defense warned of rapid expansion of China's nuclear triad.
With most analysts expecting that the Trump administration and Chinese leaders would soon sign a ceremonial end to a ten-month trade war, the Pentagon published its 2019 "Annual Report on Military and Security Developments by the People's Republic of China." The MSD details aggressive efforts by the Chinese navy to establish full-time presence in the Indian Ocean basin and Arctic Ocean, pursue hypersonic anti-ship missiles, efforts to achieve 5G world communications dominance, and the possible military dimensions of the Belt and Road Initiative, according to Geopolitical Futures.
The MSD warns that after benefiting from a two-decade "period of strategic opportunity" to facilitate domestic development and expand "comprehensive national power," China now intends to leverage its "Made in China 2025" domestic economic agenda with its international "One Belt, One Road" initiative to gain "regional preeminence."
Traditionally a land power, MSD highlights that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) now fields Asia's largest navy with more than 300 surface combatants and poses a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent with four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear-powered attack submarines, and 50 diesel attack submarines.
The 2019 MSD illuminates China's deployment of hypersonic maritime weapons capable of traveling more than five times the speed of sound to penetrate anti-missile defenses to potentially strike U.S. ships and aircraft carriers. PLAN is now focused on producing hypersonic two-stage nuclear capable "glidecraft" missiles that can rise to space, travel at up to 20 times the speed of sound, and then dive down to hit targets.
China is making "asymmetric" progress in space, counter-space, electronic warfare, and cyber-space weapons. China also relies on "gray zone" military activities that include utilizing armed fishing vessels with "little blue men" that serve as a marine militia to provide area denial and harass foreign shipping in the South and East China Seas.
Recognizing that these programs have sparked concerns about China's intentions, Geopolitical Futures remarked that China's leaders have softened the rhetoric promoting these programs without altering the programs' strategic "global force" goals.
China has made no official comments regarding the 2019 MSD. But its dubious North Korean ally's state television reported that "Brilliant Leader" Kim Jong-un oversaw a short-range "strike drill" launches from the Hodo Peninsula into the Sea of Japan.
Secretary of state Mike Pompeo initially said the test would not derail diplomacy. But President Trump on Sunday launched a tweet storm threatening to raise the current 10-percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent on Friday, and to impose 25-percent tariffs on another $325 billion of Chinese imports "shortly."
Chinese vice premier Liu is headed to Washington to meet with U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer for what the authorities call the 11th and "final round" trade talks. Beijing authorities stated that U.S. tactics to "generate pressure" should not be taken "seriously."