War on Taiwan raises threat of combined China-Russia nuclear operations

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It is very good that Sweden and Finland want to end their neutrality and join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and that President Joe Biden is apparently ready to commit American military forces to the defense of Taiwan. democratic.

But since Biden has failed to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he is not committing to a level of rearmament necessary to defend an expanded NATO and win a war against the combined nuclear and conventional forces of China and Russia.

As Biden was engaged in a Quad meeting in Tokyo on May 24 (Australia, India, Japan and the United States), Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping gave Biden and the Quad leaders a “combined” nuclear message.

On May 24, four Xian H-6K bombers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLAAF) and two Tupolev Tu-95MS bombers from the Russian Air Force conducted the fourth China-Russia joint bombing exercise since 2019. This time they flew over the Sea of ​​Japan. with a long diversion south of the Miyako Strait to an area east of Taiwan, where they could launch potentially nuclear cruise missiles against Taiwan and US bases in Guam.

The PLAAF H-6K bombers are armed with six CJ-20 precision-guided land attack cruise missiles (LACMs) with a range of 930 miles, which can be armed with a nuclear or non-nuclear tactical warhead. In total, the PLA has about 125 H-6K/J/N bombers that can potentially launch salvoes of 750 CJ-20 LACMs.

The Russian Tu-95MS bombers, which probably take off from Ukrainka air base in Amur Oblast, are the last versions built in the 1980s of a four-engined turboprop bomber that entered service in 1956, with about 60 in Russian service today.

Most carry around 16 of the 1,500 mile range Kh-55 LACMs or eight of the 1,800 mile range Kh-101 LACMs that can be armed with nuclear warheads.

China and Russia have held joint bombing exercises in 2019, 2020 and 2021, with the latter exercise including a separate Russian bomber sortie that flew west, likely simulating nuclear strikes against US bases in Alaska and military bases. US Navy strategic nuclear submarines based near Seattle.

These China-Russia bombing exercises are perhaps the most visible indicator that Russia intends to support China if it seeks to impose a blockade or even invade Taiwan.

When Russia sent forces to participate in large-scale joint forces exercises in China in August 2021, the PLA taught Russian troops how to drive PLA Ground Force ZTL-11 wheeled tanks that would be used during an invasion of Taiwan.

Moreover, these China-Russia bombing exercises are the most visible indicator that they are engaged in some level of offensive nuclear coordination.

Joint exercises with nuclear-capable bombers employed to threaten Quad leaders, and a US president traveling overseas at the time, point to possible Sino-Russian coordination of other offensive nuclear weapons like ballistic missiles within range intermediate and intercontinental.

The Sino-Russian coordination of offensive nuclear weapons is also indicated by seven years of cooperation in nuclear missile defense. In 2016, 2017 and 2019, China and Russia held mock missile defense drills after the command.

Chinese soldiers stand at attention during joint Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Peace Mission-2016 military drills in Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan, September 19, 2016. The joint counter-terrorism drill involves over 1,100 troops from Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. (VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images)

According to a report from a Russian source, these exercises involved the coordination of short-range anti-missile systems like the Russian S-400 and the Chinese HQ-9. Yet both armies are developing anti-missile systems to intercept theater and intercontinental-range nuclear missiles.

A November 20, 2020 Russian report by Russian analyst Alexander Korolev noted an observation from the Chinese Ministry of Defense regarding the 2017 missile defense exercise: joint combat operations planning when organizing air missile defenses, operations and mutual fire support.

Would “mutual fire support” include the coordination of intercontinental and theater ballistic and cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads?

Then, on October 3, 2019, Putin announced that Russia was helping China develop a strategic missile early warning system. He said, “This is a very serious thing, which will radically improve the defense capability of the People’s Republic of China.”

The extent of Russian assistance to China’s long-range strategic missile detection capability is unclear. However, reports from Russian sources have noted that Russian radar companies have been hired to develop software. Other reports suggest that Russia may have offered technology for very large early warning radars and early warning satellites.

Additionally, the November 2020 report notes additional benefits of Russia’s assistance to China in missile defense:

“This paves the way for the integration of China’s and Russia’s early warning systems. When warning stations in Russia and China are merged into a single complex, it increases the speed at which both countries can be warned of and intercept a potential missile attack…than integrating the early warning systems of both country facilitates greater convergence of Russia and China’s defense strategies, resulting in the formation of a common defense policy.

However, if Russian and Chinese early warning and missile defense capabilities were “merged into a single complex,” it would facilitate their coordination of offensive nuclear operations, possibly including a massive nuclear first strike against the United States.

A potential combined China-Russia nuclear offensive threat is becoming a more serious consideration now that China is “sprinting” to achieve nuclear superiority over the United States.

Epoch Times Photo
A rocket is launched from a Pantsir-S air defense system at the Ashuluk military base in southern Russia during the ‘Caucasus-2020’ military exercises on September 22, 2020. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)

While the US intelligence community has offered the estimate that China could have 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, a baseline count of 360 new ICBM silos with DF-41-derived ICBMs capable of 10 warheads, plus an estimated production of submarine-launched missiles, indicates a possible capability in the early 2030s that could exceed 4,000 warheads.

To this could be added the almost 1,500 strategic nuclear warheads currently recognized by Russia, its 2,000 to 10,000 theater nuclear weapons and any growth in Russian nuclear stockpiles after the expiration in 2026 of the extended limitation agreement. 2010 American-Russian New START nuclear project.

One of Biden’s first strategic decisions was to expand New START, locking the number of US strategic nuclear warheads at around 1,550. The Biden administration has just canceled a much-needed survivable theater nuclear weapon, the missile sea-launched cruise ship (SLCM-N).

Suppose Biden is serious about defending Taiwan with his American military allies in Asia. In this case, it is crucial that the United States respond to the threat of a coordinated nuclear capability between China and Russia. This is essential for credible US “extended deterrence” to protect US allies and prevent China and Russia from starting a war over Taiwan.

Washington should abandon New START now and replace the reduced warheads of US strategic missiles due to this treaty, which would increase the number of US warheads to nearly 3,000.

Next, the United States should increase its levels of strategic nuclear warheads and arm a certain proportion of new American theatrical, medium and intermediate range ballistic and cruise missiles with tactical nuclear warheads.

Additionally, to better respond to the challenges of Russian and potentially Chinese nuclear escalation, the United States should revive its former Cold War capability in low-yield tactical nuclear artillery shells and deploy them with units from the US Army and Navy.

Ultimately, assured deterrence against a combined Sino-Russian and/or North Korean nuclear threat may require the United States to share certain nuclear deterrent technologies with Japan, South Korea and Australia – a precedent already established by US-British cooperation on nuclear weapons. .

A coordinated combined defensive and offensive nuclear capability between China and Russia would pose the greatest threat ever to the United States and its allied democracies. Accordingly, preparation for a rapid and decisive US nuclear build-up is imperative to maintain deterrence.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Epoch Times.

Rick Fisher

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Rick Fisher is a senior researcher at the International Center for Assessment and Strategy.

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