The US is seeking to diminish the explosive capacity of its nuclear weapons to expand the use of the "tactical" atomic arms, says Chen Junhua, deputy director of the Iran Research Center at China's Southwest University.
"The US nuclear strategy, published by the Pentagon, is nothing more than an attempt to lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons and expand the range of its use," the scholar told Sputnik China.
The Chinese academic believes that the US doctrine can trigger a new arms race. This is particularly true for countries which had already signaled their intention to develop nuclear weapons, he said, suggesting that these state actors may now even more actively seek to create or boost their atomic stockpiles.
At the same time, Chen denounced the US claim that the adoption of the new nuclear doctrine was in any way connected with the strengthening of Chinese nuclear forces as groundless.
"The US has always been seeking to substantiate its strategic plans by having a powerful rival," the academic stressed. "The US has ranked China as its potential adversary, referring to the continuous growth of [the country's] economy and military power."
International observers share Chen's concerns: Speaking to Sputnik Mundo, Colonel Rafael Gonzalez Crespo, a military analyst and specialist on Eastern Europe, warned that the US' new Nuclear Posture Review poses a serious threat to global stability and may turn Europe into one large military theater.
For his part, former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, Chas Freeman, suggested that the Trump administration's nuclear doctrine may fuel a new arms race. Speaking to Sputnik, the former official also noted that the review actually paves the way for the United States' withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Previously, the US nuclear doctrine and the plan to develop new tactical atomic weapons came under criticism from German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
"The US government's new nuclear posture shows that the spiral of a new nuclear arms race is already under way," Gabriel stated on February 4.
On February 2, the Pentagon released the new US nuclear doctrine, which puts Russia, North Korea, Iran and China in the crosshairs as potential threats to the country's national security.
In response, Moscow signaled its disappointment with the US nuclear posture.
"The content of the new nuclear doctrine (the so-called Nuclear Posture Review) released by the United States on February 2 has provoked our deep disappointment. The confrontational and anti-Russian nature of this document strikes the eye," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an official statement.
The ministry rejected Washington's accusations of aggressive behavior, interventions, and breach of arms control agreements and called the US document an attempt to put the whole blame on Russia, while trying to justify America's "policies for a large-scale boost of nuclear weapons."
The views and opinions expressed by Chen Junhua are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik