China May Have Learned Nuke Lesson From Putin

'Wall Street Journal' reports Beijing is speeding up nuclear buildup as a deterrent
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2022 3:02 PM CDT
China May Have Learned Nuke Lesson From Putin
A Y-20 transport aircraft of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force, in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

Vladimir Putin has made a point to rattle his nuclear sabre amid the invasion of Ukraine. In the eyes of many, it's a big reason why the US in particular and the West in general will not intervene directly on the field of battle. "This war might prove the greatest stimulus to nuclear proliferation in history," is how Washington Post columnist David Ignatius put it in an earlier assessment. Now, a report in the Wall Street Journal suggests the prediction already is coming true. The story, based on accounts from "people with knowledge of the Chinese leadership’s thinking," says Beijing is moving quickly to ramp up its nuclear arsenal.

Specifically, work has sped up on 100 suspected missile silos in western China that could theoretically house nuclear missiles able to reach the US, according to the report by Alastair Gale. The nugget is based on analysis of satellite images. A key point made by Gale: "The Chinese nuclear effort long predates Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the US’s wariness about getting directly involved in the war there has likely reinforced Beijing’s decision to put greater emphasis on developing nuclear weapons as a deterrent." That is, the US might be hesitant to intervene on, say Taiwan, in the same way it is hesitant to intervene on Ukraine. Read the full story. (More China stories.)

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