Trump administration pushes allies to pressure China over its nuclear program
October 29, 2020 at 20:52
Washington (CNN) The Trump administration is working to pressure NATO allies to collectively crackdown on China's nuclear program as it looks to limit Beijing's growing influence in the global arms race.
In a meeting with NATO allies last week President Donald Trump's top envoy for arms control, Marshall Billingslea urged allies to impose stricter arms control regulations on Beijing.
The administration has been looking to convince China to enter into a nuclear agreement with the US and Russia, but with days to go until the election, efforts to extend an agreement with Russia have been fast-tracked and are proceeding absent the participation of Beijing which has not shown an interest in taking part in talks in recent times.
Billingslea's efforts are part of a broader push by the Trump administration to assert its view that China -- and not Russia -- presents the biggest threat to American national security, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 virus, and the economic downturn in the US, which Trump has blamed on Beijing.
Billingslea urged allies to impose consequences on China for its nuclear expansion, similar to the consequences China is increasingly facing over its 5G network, believed by the Trump administration and other countries to be a tool for espionage.
The administration is arguing that China's efforts to increase the size of it means the US and its allies must take preemptive defensive actions, includes the deployment of additional missile defenses, to counteract the thousands of missiles China is allegedly building up.
The administration also argues that China's nuclear expansion legitimizes its own expansion of deep strike capabilities to push back China's missile battalions.
"Unlike the United States and Russia where our nuclear weapons programs are both functionally and characteristically distinct -- this particular reactor is for military purposes or for civilian purposes, The Chinese co-mingle everything.
So all of their civil nuclear program is under the same Chinese communist party enterprises," a senior administration official told CNN.Source