Washington, US: Advancing the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific amid China tensions, US President Biden will host the first-ever US-Pacific Island Country Summit, which will be held in Washington, DC on September 28-29, 2022.
The announcement was made in a statement by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre published by the White House. The Summit will demonstrate the United States’ deep and enduring partnership with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region that is underpinned by shared history, values, and people-to-people ties.
It will also reflect the broadening and deepening cooperation between the US and pacific island countries on key issues such as climate change, pandemic response, economic recovery, maritime security, environmental protection, and advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, the statement added.
US has always upheld the principle of a free and open indo-pacific and has condemned China for its expansionist ambitions. China is the only nation that is expanding its nuclear arsenal and this build-up poses a threat to the stability of the region, US Indo-Pacific Commander, Admiral John Aquilino has said.
According to a Canada-based think tank, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), the US Indo-Pacific Commander made the remark at a press conference in Indonesia where he disclosed that China had “300 nuclear silos going in”.
He warned that China’s growing nuclear arsenal threatens the Indo-Pacific region’s stability, with Beijing pursuing “the largest military buildup in history” since World War II. He further said, “If you’d like to talk about nuclear weapons and the concern for a nuclear arms race, all you have to do is look into the PRC (People’s Republic of China).”
Aquilino made the remarks following China’s opposition to Australia, UK, and US (AUKUS) defense pact, which will arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. Beijing said it poses nuclear proliferation risks.
As per a report released by the US Department of Defense, China’s accelerating pace of its nuclear buildup could enable it to have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027. The report stated that China could plan to have at least 1,000 warheads by 2030, exceeding the US initial projection in 2020.
“The PRC has already established a nascent ‘nuclear triad’ with the development of a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) and improvement of its ground and sea-based nuclear capabilities,” the US Department of Defense report stated.