Chinese protests have done little to quell fears of a new global arms race. On Tuesday, a former energy secretary in the Obama administration, Ernest J. Moniz, and a former Georgia senator, Sam Nunn, published an article in Foreign Affairs warning that a “toxic mix of decaying arms control and new advanced weaponry” have made a nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States “disturbingly plausible.”
“Its essential elements are already present today; all that is needed is a spark to light the tinder,” they wrote.
American officials have repeatedly warned about Chinese and Russian buildups. Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr., the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in May that China was likely to diversify and “at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile” over the next decade. Russia’s nuclear stockpile was “likely to grow significantly,” he said.
The Trump administration has also made efforts to modernize its stockpile, releasing a plan last year about how it could improve the American arsenal, including tactical nuclear weapons.
Experts say the most likely locations for an American deployment would be South Korea or Japan, although Tokyo has recently been improving its relations with China.
Mr. Fu said that the deployment of missiles to an American ally in the Pacific would be like “deploying missiles at the doorsteps of China.” Even on the American territory of Guam, he said, a deployment would be “a very provocative action” and could be “very dangerous.”
He added a warning to American allies in the region, naming Japan, South Korea and Australia. China called on “our neighboring countries to exercise prudence and not to allow U.S. deployment on its territory,” he said, “because that will not serve the national security interests of these countries.”
China has flexed its economic muscles in the past to punish American allies. After South Korea let the United States install an antimissile system there, China called for a wide boycott of South Korean products and railed against its neighbor for more than a year. Since then, Chinese-American relations have only deteriorated in the wake of a two-year trade war that has battered both countries and sown mutual distrust.