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Sunday, July 17, 2005

While We Weren’t Looking

While LeakyGate, Social Security reform, Supreme Court nominations, and other political struggles dominate our attention, a Chinese general speaks out on China's willingness to use nuclear weapons in a conflict with the U.S.:

Top Chinese general warns US over attack, By Alexandra Harney in Beijing and Demetri Sevastopulo and Edward Alden, Financial Times: China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday.  “If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” said General Zhu Chenghu.  Gen Zhu was speaking at a function for foreign journalists organised, in part, by the Chinese government. He added that China's definition of its territory included warships and aircraft. … “We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”  Gen Zhu is a self-acknowledged “hawk” who has warned that China could strike the US with long-range missiles. But his threat to use nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan is the most specific by a senior Chinese official in nearly a decade. … In recent months, a string of US officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, have raised concerns about China's military rise. The Pentagon on Thursday declined to comment on “hypothetical scenarios”…. Gen Zhu said his views did not represent official Chinese policy and he did not anticipate war with the US.

We are not properly focused and I find that worrisome.  We need to pay more attention to Bin Laden and associates.  And we need more attention focused on North Korea, Iran, China, and other nuclear threats, something made far more difficult by the current demands on military resources.

Update: A Sucker Bet, Nicholas D. Kristoff, NY Times discusses the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.  There is also a multimedia presentation of the story.

    Posted by on Sunday, July 17, 2005 at 01:44 AM in Iraq and Afghanistan, Terrorism | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (8)

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