In recent years, there have been growing concerns about the cooperation between Russia and China in the nuclear energy industry. The situation came to light a few weeks earlier during the United States (US) hearing on Strategic Forces, where a US official revealed that the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, is providing highly enriched uranium for Chinese fast breeder reactors.
NEWS: Russia Reportedly Supplying Enriched Plutonium to China https://t.co/3Ar02JgoHr
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) March 9, 2023
This revelation has raised concerns that it may be part of a larger effort to increase their stockpiles of plutonium for the purpose of developing nuclear weapons as assistant secretary of defense for space policy of the US, John F. Plumb, highlighted that breeder reactors are used to produce plutonium, which is primarily used for nuclear weapons. The situation also presents a significant challenge to US national security.
A challenge to US National Security
The fast-paced expansion and diversification of China’s nuclear forces have been a growing concern for the US, with sophisticated long-range strike systems being added to the mix.
These latest developments indicate that China is working to counter the US and its allies, and the collaboration between China and Russia in the nuclear domain only exacerbates the severity of the situation, presenting a significant challenge to US national security.
Moreover, the Department of Defense’s National Defense Strategy outlines four priorities, which include defending the homeland; deterring strategic attacks; deterring aggression and prevailing in conflict; and building a more resilient joint force.
All of these priorities are interdependent and require a strong nuclear deterrent. The strategy involves investing in new technologies, developing new warfighting concepts, and strengthening partnerships with allies and partners worldwide.
The US nuclear deterrent is essential to all four priorities of the National Defense Strategy. The increasing nuclear capabilities of China and Russia represent a significant obstacle to US national security. Hence, the US needs to invest in new technologies, warfighting concepts, and alliances to enhance the resilience of its joint forces.
The counter-strategy of US
The US has been countering Chinese influence in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region (IOR) by partnering with empowering Chinese competitors in the region. This approach is part of a broader US strategy to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
One of the ways that the US is countering Chinese influence is by building stronger partnerships and alliances with countries in the region, including India, Japan, Australia, and other Southeast Asian nations.
The US has also been increasing its military presence in the region through a range of measures, including deploying naval assets, conducting joint military exercises, and providing military aid and training to regional partners.
In addition, the US has been investing in infrastructure and economic development projects in the region to help countries strengthen their economies and reduce their dependence on China. For example, the US has launched initiatives like the Indo-Pacific Infrastructure Trilateral Partnership, which aims to support infrastructure development in the region and promote economic growth.
Apart from that, backing China’s challengers has been a time-honored tactic of the US to curb Chinese dominance in the region. For instance, the US has been selling military hardware and technology to Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province. The US has also been providing military assistance and training to other countries in the region, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, to help them build up their military capabilities.
Overall, the US strategy of partnering with and empowering China’s competitors in the South China Sea and IOR is aimed at countering China’s attempts to expand its influence and control in the region and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
In the bargain, the importance of the US nuclear deterrent cannot be overstated. It is the bedrock of national security and plays a crucial role in deterring potential adversaries from launching a nuclear attack.
Thus, the US will continue to invest in its nuclear capabilities to ensure that it maintains its edge over China and Russia in this domain.
Moreover, cooperation with allies and partners is also crucial in countering the nuclear threat posed by China and Russia. Allies and partners will provide an asymmetric advantage that neither China nor Russia can hope to match.
In a nutshell, the convergence of Russia and China’s efforts in nuclear technology cooperation is a matter of apprehension, and the US will undertake measures to counteract this potential danger.
Also, the US is likely to allocate resources towards enhancing its nuclear capabilities, foster stronger alliances and partnerships, and reaffirm its commitment to safeguarding national security.
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The nuclear deterrence strategy is indispensable for preserving global tranquility and equilibrium, and the United States will doubtlessly exert every conceivable effort to uphold its dominance in this sphere.
In short, the implications of the US response to Russia and China nuclear alliance will be felt throughout the region. It is likely that there will be increased geopolitical tensions between the US and its adversaries, as they attempt to thwart each other’s efforts.
*The views expressed in this article do not reflect the opinions or positions of The Diplomatic Insight. The organization does not endorse or take responsibility for the content of the article. Any opinions or perspectives expressed in this article are the author’s alone.