(CNN) –– The head of the US Strategic Command, which oversees the country’s nuclear weapons program, warned that China is developing nuclear weapons much faster than Washington, to the point that he called the matter a “short-term problem” during a speech at a closed-door event earlier this week.
Although Pentagon officials have sounded the alarm about China’s military buildup and development of nuclear weapons for years, Charles Richard’s comments portray the situation as more dire than other officials have publicly stated.
“As I make an assessment on our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking,” Richard said. “She’s sinking slowly, but she’s sinking, as fundamentally they’re putting capacity in the field faster than we are.”
Richard called the development of China’s nuclear weapons program a “short-term problem.”
“As that trend continues, it won’t matter how good our [plan operativo] or how good our commanders are, or how good our forces are, we’re not going to have enough. And that’s a very short-term problem.”
Richard made the comments during a speech at the Naval Submarine League’s Annual Symposium on Wednesday. The event was closed to the public, but Richard’s comments were published in a Defense Department news article on Friday.
The Joe Biden administration has consistently branded China as the US’s main global competitor and warned of the country’s developing military and nuclear weapons program in a series of policy papers outlining the US’s military and defense strategy. USA published at the end of October.
China is America’s “pacing challenger” because it is “the only competitor with the intent and growing ability to systematically challenge the United States across the board, militarily, economically, technologically and diplomatically,” a senior official said. defense over strategy.
China “probably intends to possess at least 1,000 deliverable warheads by the end of the decade,” said the Nuclear Posture Review, one of the policy documents, on China’s nuclear weapons program.
Richard also warned of China’s nuclear buildup in 2021, calling its program a “strategic break.”
“We are witnessing a strategic break from China. The explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as impressive, and frankly, that word impressive may not be enough,” Richard stated in 2021.