That’s according to Admiral Charles Richard, the commander of United States Strategic Command, who spoke in an online forum discussion with the Hudson Institute.
According to Richard, the US has never before “faced two peer opponents” with nuclear weapons and high-technology systems, noting that China’s rapid progression in nuclear, space, and cyber technologies means that Washington must think carefully about its next steps. In particular, Richard stated that China, unlike the US and Russia, is not constrained by treaties regarding its nuclear forces.
“Russia still remains the near-term pacing threat,” Richard said, suggesting that Beijing would soon overtake Moscow as Washington’s most capable foe.
According to the Admiral, both Russia and China can “go [to] any level of violence” in a crisis, including using nuclear weapons with their “unique destructive capability.”
Richard also spoke about the cooperation between the two nations, which have recently worked closely together for the mutual improvement of both militaries.
Earlier this month, Russian military personnel traveled to train with their China counterparts and conducted a joint military exercise at the Qingtongxia training ground, which involved more than 10,000 soldiers. According to Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, they were a “complete success” and demonstrated a “high level” of cooperation.
“These drills have great significance,” Wei said. “These are the first joint drills organized in China since the outbreak of the epidemic. And these are the first-ever Chinese operational and strategic maneuvers with the participation of Russian troops.”