America and China: Don’t Lose the Chance for Nuclear Disarmament

The wariness and uneasiness regarding China are truly rising to the surface.

In its annual report of China’s military arsenal, the Department of Defense stated that China’s stockpile of nuclear warheads is expected to top 1,000 by 2030. Officials say that at this pace, China will eclipse America in military power. The need to stand up to China has never been greater, as this isn’t just an American issue, but also an issue for every country allied with the U.S., including Japan.

As of this past January, Russia had 6,255 warheads, followed by America at 5,550, then China at 350. Untethered by the arms control measures placed upon America and Russia, China is able to expand its military capabilities with fewer limitations. China has not responded to those countries’ requests to discuss disarmament.

Just this past summer, China launched a hypersonic weapon capable of holding a nuclear warhead that seemingly flew the circumference of the Earth. With its ability to fly at low altitudes at five times the speed of sound, the possibility remains that these weapons could slip through America’s defenses. America, whose efforts to create the same weapon failed, worries that the balance of military power may be flipped on its head. The Pentagon’s report goes on to state that China may have established a nuclear triad with intercontinental ballistic missiles, air-launched missiles and submarine-launched missiles.

As part of its new nuclear strategy, the Biden administration is considering adopting a “no first use” policy, where nuclear weapons would only be developed as a means of deterrence and retaliation against a nuclear attack. Japan, Australia and all the members of NATO are waiting in anticipation of what America will do. China adopting the same policy would be an important first step toward disarmament.

Following the Obama administration, the mid-sized powers of the world have started to drift closer to China and Russia, creating something of a barrier between them and America. The economy of Japan, in particular, is intertwined with China’s. As such, in order to avoid a dangerous collision between America and China over Taiwan, Japan must request transparency and de-escalation from both sides.

The Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, conversely, call for military expansion and cooperation with Japan’s allies to combat China. Far from agreeing with this, some in America argue that Japan is attempting to stir up right-wingers in its own government. Japan increasing its military power and working in tandem with America, however, will only agitate countries like China, Russia and North Korea. The Fumio Kishida administration has promised an unflinching foreign policy, but it doesn’t appear that it can solve issues such as the abductions by North Korea or the dispute with Russia over the Kuril Islands.

Xi Jinping has begun to change course toward stabilization of relations with America. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has chosen to take a hard line so as not to divide his constituents. When the time comes for both sides to work with each other, Japan may very well lose its position on the world stage.

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