China’s nuclear build-up: ‘one of the largest shifts in geostrategic power ever’

On July 27, China became the first nation to fly a hypersonic glide vehicle — a manoeuvrable craft that travels at more than five times the speed of sound — around the earth.

The vehicle was propelled by a rocket that can fly over the South Pole, evading US missile defences which are focused on the North Pole — and giving the Chinese another way to hit targets in America.

This test was the latest in a series of revelations about China’s growing nuclear capabilities that have set off multiple alarm bells in Washington. Earlier this month, the Pentagon said it believes China has accelerated its nuclear plans and will quadruple its arsenal to at least 1,000 warheads by 2030. …

General Mark Milley, chair of the US joint chiefs, described the test, which was first reported by the Financial Times, as very close to a “Sputnik moment”, referring to the Soviet Union putting a satellite in space in 1957.

“We’re witnessing one of the largest shifts in geostrategic power that the world has ever experienced,” Milley tells the FT.

“This shift is occurring alongside a fundamental change in the character of war,” Milley adds. “We need to act with urgency to develop capabilities across all domains — land, sea, air, space, cyber and our strategic nuclear forces — to address this evolving global landscape. We have to act now. Otherwise, we risk condemning our future generations to failure.”