Poor US leadership will lead to major war with Russia, China

The Pentagon document released on Friday, known as the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), argues that developing smaller nuclear weapons would challenge that assumption.

The US military has put countering China and Russian Federation, dubbed "revisionist powers", at the centre of a new national defence strategy unveiled earlier this month.

'The US Nuclear Posture Review reflects greater reliance on nukes in violation of the #NPT, bringing humankind closer to annihilation, ' Zarif said on Twitter.

But Beijing dismissed the review as "presumptuous speculation", saying China had strictly followed a "no first use" policy - meaning it would not use nuclear weapons unless it was attacked with them - and had been "always extremely restrained" in its nuclear weapons development. "We hope that the United States earnestly takes up its special disarmament responsibility, correctly understands China's strategic intentions and objectively views China's national defence and military build-up".

China's neighbours have watched warily as the People's Liberation Army has upgraded its arsenal with increasingly sophisticated weaponry and sought to create a more effective and professional fighting force.

China decried the US for its "Cold War mentality" on Sunday after Washington announced last week that it plans to diversify its nuclear arsenal with smaller bombs. "That's why the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons bans all nuclear weapons, and the threatening of their use".

China says it is "firmly" opposed the Pentagon's review of nuclear policy.

The document says enhancing deterrence capabilities with low-yield nuclear arsenals is necessary.

The review of United States nuclear policy has already riled Russian Federation, which viewed the document as confrontational, and raised fears that it could increase the risk of miscalculation between the two countries.

Low-yield nuclear weapons, while still devastating, have a strength of less than 20 kilotons.

"The same people who supposedly believe that using weapons of mass destruction is a crime against humanity ... are talking about new weapons to threaten or use against rivals", he said in his televised address.

On Twitter, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also lashed out.

China yesterday criticized a US government report that cast Beijing as a potential nuclear adversary and called on Washington to reduce its own much larger arsenal and join in promoting regional stability.

Mr Trump gave the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated before he took office, a final reprieve last month but warned European allies and Congress they had to work with him to fix "the disastrous flaws" in the pact or face a U.S. exit.

  • Joey Payne