Alwaght- In remarks likely to accelerate tension, a high ranking US military commander says he would be prepared to launch a nuclear attack on China if President Donald Trump so ordered.
Admiral Scott Swift the US Pacific Fleet commander, addressing a security conference in Australia, said in answer to a question on Thursday that he would be prepared to launch a nuclear strike on China if President Donald Trump so ordered.
Admiral Swift was speaking at the Australian National University in Canberra when he was asked whether he would be prepared to launch a nuclear attack on China if ordered to do so by Trump. "The answer would be yes," he said.
Swift defended his stances saying that all members of the U.S. military had sworn an oath to obey officers and the U.S. president as commander in chief.
Admiral Swift’s remarks in Canberra came after war games conducted by more than 30,000 military personnel from Australia and the US took place off the coast of Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia. A Chinese Navy spy ship was operating nearby while the operations, known as the Talisman Saber exercises, were underway in the Coral Sea, the Australian military said.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Britain’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, committed his country’s newest and largest aircraft carriers to steam through the South China Sea.
“One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area,” Mr. Johnson said during a visit to Sydney, Australia.
Britain’s newest carrier, the Queen Elizabeth, is 65,000 tons and is the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy.
While remaining major trading partners, the US, UK and China still share several points of contention. The most acute ones involve tensions over the status of the South China Sea, an area crossed by numerous maritime shipping lanes.
Whereas Beijing claims that its sovereignty over key parts of the sea dates back centuries, London and Washington insist on what they claim freedom of navigation.
To back its stance, the US regularly deploys warships and combat aircraft to contested waters. Beijing frequently protests those missions and deploys its own military assets to counter the projection of US power.
China meanwhile firmly opposes any individual country using freedom of navigation and overflight as an excuse to harm its sovereignty and security.