Published On: Sat, Dec 23rd, 2023

China nuclear buildup shows Xi Jinping preparing for ‘large-scale war with America’ | World | News

China fears the prospect of a “large-scale war with America” and has been making preparations for a nuclear conflict, a former Donald Trump adviser claimed.

Elbridge Colby made the claims as he reviewed reports about new satellite images suggesting Beijing had begun constructing potential nuclear test facilities near Lop Nur lake, Xinjiang province.

The People’s Republic of China tested its first atomic bomb at the location nearly 50 years ago.

Colby, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, argued the images showed Beijing is now building up its nuclear arsenal ahead of a possible war with the US.

Writing on Twitter, the former Trump adviser said: “The only plausible reason for China’s major nuclear buildup is because it fears a large-scale war with America.

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“China already had a nuclear deterrent. So why the breakout? It gives a lot more options and leverage to Beijing in a WestPac conflict.”

Colby had been commenting on a recent New York Times article reviewing the new satellite images, which showed what appeared to be construction work in the lake area.

New tunnels have been built on the sides of a nearby mountain and several security fences have been set up near Lop Nur lake, according to the report.

The paper claimed the security perimeter shown in the images was “consistent with the handling of high explosives and nuclear devices.”

Nuclear weapons expert Tong Zhao, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argued the new images “point to China making preparations that would let it resume nuclear tests.”

Beijing however slammed the claims, with a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry calling the reports “utterly irresponsible.”

In October, the Pentagon released a report warning that China has been “expanding the number of its land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery platforms while investing in and constructing the infrastructure necessary to support further expansion of its nuclear forces.”

The report estimated China to have over 500 operational nuclear warheads – with the potential of securing more than 1,000 before the end of 2023.

The claims come at a time when tensions between China and the US remain high because of Beijing’s concerning claims over both Taiwan and the South China Sea.

The PRC has laid a virtual claim on both territories, with Xi Jinping repeatedly signalling he is prepared to launch an invasion to annex Taipei to China proper.

During a meeting with Joe Biden in November, Xi said: “The US side should take real actions to honour its commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence,’ stop arming Taiwan, and support China’s peaceful reunification…China will realise reunification, and this is unstoppable.”

And the US this month reiterated its commitment to helping close ally The Philippines after multiple clashes between its Navy and Chinese vessels near Second Thomas Shoal.

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