EXCLUSIVE: The top Republicans on the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence committees are urging President Biden to create a “comprehensive interagency strategy” to stop China’s nuclear buildup, while warning that lack of action on the matter could result in China reaching “a degree of nuclear parity” with the United States by 2030.
In a letter to the president, exclusively obtained by Fox News, House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers, and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, outlined the threat.WHITE HOUSE CALLS FOR ‘NEW APPROACH’ TO NATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGES TO ‘PREVAIL’ IN COMPETITION WITH CHINA
“We write to you today concerning the growing threat posed by 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,” McCaul, Rogers and Nunes wrote.
The members pointed to recent testimony from Admiral Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, who said China has “moved a portion of its nuclear force to a Launch on Warning posture and has a nuclear weapons stockpile that is expected to at least double, if not triple, or quadruple, over the next decade.”
“Based on most opensource estimates, to include those produced by the Department of Defense, this could bring the size of the deployed Chinese nuclear deterrent to approximately 1,000 warheads by 2030,” they wrote.
The members went on to point to the Annual Threat Assessment presented to Congress by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines earlier this year, which stated that China is “fielding a full Cold War-style triad of nuclear assets—intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-armed bombers and submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles.”
“China’s ballistic missile arsenal is ‘more survivable, more diverse, and on higher alert than in the past, including nuclear missile systems designed to manage regional escalation and ensure an intercontinental second-strike capability,’” they wrote, adding that, “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.”
But Republicans said that China, since the Trump administration, “refused to participate in good faith arms control negotiations, either bilaterally or trilaterally.”
“As you are aware, Article VI of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), requires nuclear weapons states to participate in ‘good faith’ negotiations on arms reductions,” they wrote. “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.”
Republicans added: “We are left to reach no other conclusion that China is in violation of Article VI of the NPT.”
McCaul, Rogers and Nunes went on to request that the president provide “a comprehensive interagency strategy” for getting China to enter “meaningful arms control negotiations, either bilaterally or trilaterally,” while arguing that the strategy should include “the full use of our diplomatic, military, intelligence, and sanctions toolbox to bring them to the table.”
Republicans also urged Biden to provide a “determination as to whether or not China is acting inconsistent” with the NPT, and provide any “underlying intelligence indicative of China’s willingness to enter into good faith arms control negotiations as required by the treaty.”
They also called for an “updated comprehensive unclassified IC assessment of Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization trends,” also including updates to any Russian and Chinese “chemical and biological weapons programs.”
“Over the last decade the threat environment has worsened and become more complicated,” they wrote. “As I’m 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.”
They added: “Additionally, the need to continue to modernize the U.S. deterrent is vital to our efforts to deter both Russia and China.”
The letter to the president comes after Haines’ unclassified annual report of worldwide threats noted that China is expected to continue building on its military, and “potentially destabilizing international norms and relationships,” while also continuing “the most rapid expansion and platform diversification of its nuclear arsenal in its history.”
The report says China intends to “at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile during the next decade and to field a nuclear triad.”
Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has warned that China “has rapidly become more assertive” and “is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system.”
In new national security guidance released by the White House in March, the administration discussed the “existential threat” posed by nuclear weapons, saying the U.S. goal is to “reestablish our credibility as a leader in arms control.” The national security guidance said that the U.S. is prepared to engage in “meaningful dialogue with Russia and China on a range of emerging military technological developments that implicate strategic stability.”
With regard to the military threat China – and Russia – poses, the guidance says the Biden administration will ensure that the U.S. armed forces “remain the best trained and equipped force in the world.”
The guidance said the Biden administration would assess the structure, capabilities and sizing of the forces and work with Congress to free up resources for investments in technologies and capabilities that “will determine our military and national security advantage in the future.”
“Taken together, this agenda will strengthen our enduring advantages, and allow us to prevail in strategic competition with China or any other nation,” the guidance said, adding that the “most effective way” for the U.S. to “out-compete” China is “to invest in our people our economy, and our democracy.”