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China is upgrading its nukes, says US diplomat

July 8, 2021

Beijing might soon obtain "exotic nukes" such as underwater drones and nuclear powered missiles, according to the US ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Robert Wood.

In this video grab provided by RU-RTR Russian television via AP television on Thursday, March 1, 2018, Russia's new Sarmat intercontinental missile is shown at an undisclosed location in Russia.
Modern nuclear weapons like this one in Russia could soon be developed in ChinaImage: AP Photo/picture-alliance

China is "looking at" developing advanced nuclear weapons system that, according to a US diplomat specialized in disarmament, could disrupt "global strategic stability."

Ambassador Robert Wood, US envoy to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva said "exotic nukes" like underwater drones and missiles that run on nuclear power could soon be part ofthe Chinese arsenal.

Wood also said satellite images showing China building 119 new silos in the north west of the country similar to those which house its current nuclear weapons were "of great concern."

Future wars

What sort of new weapons is China looking at?

China is looking to raise the stakes by upgrading its nuclear arsenal with the latest technology so their weapons could hit US targets.

The Pentagon estimated last year that China already has more than 200 nuclear warheads and is looking to double that number over the last decade.

"This is not where China was 10 years ago," Wood said, adding that the Far Eastern economic superpower was now "pursuing weapons similar to some of the nuclear-powered delivery systems that the Russians have been pursuing."

Russia is looking at new ways to counter US ballistic weapons defense systems and Wood suspects China is following suit.

Biden's China blacklist about 'security, values'

What solution does Wood suggest?

The problem, Wood argued, is that while Russia and the US, that have over 11,000 nuclear warheads between them, have "frameworks for addressing these issues", this point of contact does not exist with China.

"Until China sits down with the United States bilaterally, the risk of a devastating arms race will continue to increase and that benefits no-one," said Wood.

Although he said China claimed it was "a responsible nuclear power" with only defensive capability, "when we see a lot of what China has been doing, it runs counter to what it has been saying."

"It is in everyone's interest that nuclear powers talk to one another directly about reducing nuclear dangers and avoiding miscalculation," Wood said.

jc/msh (AP, AFP)