British adviser warns of risks of nuclear war amid cuts in communications | Nuclear Weapons News

Stephen Lovegrove says the back channels that kept the world safe during the Cold War have disintegrated.

The United Kingdom’s national security adviser, Stephen Lovegrove, has warned of the growing danger of a nuclear confrontation with Russia and China, amid a breakdown in back channels of communication that helped preserve peace during the Cold War.

Speaking in Washington, D.C., Lovegrove said the lack of dialogue was occurring at a time when there was not only a “wider range” of strategic risks, but also more “paths of escalation” as a result of advances in science and technology, arms proliferation, and increased competition in areas such as space.

“The two homogeneous Cold War blocs of the Soviet Union (the Soviet Union) and NATO – although there were no alarming obstacles – were able to come to a common understanding of the doctrine that is absent today,” he said Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (CSIS), a think tank.

“Doctrine is opaque in Moscow and Beijing, not to mention Pyongyang or Tehran.”

He said that mutual understanding helped ensure that the world did not fall into a nuclear conflict.

“This gave us a higher level of confidence that we would not misjudge our path to nuclear war,” Lovegrove said. “Today we don’t have the same grounds with others who might threaten us in the future – especially with China.”

US President Joe Biden is expected to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone later on Thursday.

The call, which Beijing has not yet confirmed, will be the first discussion between them since March and comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries, particularly over a possible visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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China claims the democratic autonomous island is its own and has said there will be “consequences” for the United States if the trip continues. The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is obligated by law to ensure that the island has the means to defend itself.

Lovegrove also expressed concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons in “rogue” states, as well as the rapid development of such weapons among established nuclear powers, including China, where he said the UK had “clear concerns” about the country’s modernization of its nuclear capabilities. arsenal.

Last month, NATO included China among its “strategic threats” for the first time, saying that Beijing’s military ambitions, confrontational rhetoric toward Taiwan and increasingly close ties with Moscow pose “systemic challenges”.

Citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an example of the tense Cold War mechanisms, Britain’s security chief urged countries to adhere to arms control measures, stressing that such agreements are “vital” in keeping the world safe.

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