During a security conference at the Australian National University on Thursday, Admiral Scott Swift, the US Pacific Fleet Commander, while answering a question, said that he would launch a nuclear attack on China next week if President Donald Trump orders him to do so.
The security conference was held after a major joint military exercise of Australia and America. A Chinese intelligence information gathering ship off northeastern Australia monitored the joint military drill of the two countries.
During the conference, one of the academics from the audience questioned Scott Swift if he would attack China with a nuclear bomb next week, to which Swift replied in the affirmative. Firstpost quotes Swift saying,
The answer would be: Yes. Every member of the US military has sworn an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as commander and chief appointed over us. This is core to the American democracy and any time you have a military that is moving away from a focus and an allegiance to civilian control, then we really have a significant problem.
While the Admiral’s reply sounds like a warning alarm, Pacific Fleet spokesman, Captain Charlie Brown, later said that Swift was not addressing the premise of the question but was talking about the principle of civilian authority of the military.
Brown further said that “the premise of the question was ridiculous” and that the question was “outrageous, hypothetical”.
There has, however, been no official reply from China to the statement by US Pacific Fleet Commander. China too is powered with nuclear arsenal but smaller than that of the US. Moreover, it maintains a “no first use” policy, therefore, it would not launch a first strike against a nuclear-armed opponent or use nuclear weapons against a country that did not have them. But there have been occasional calls to change the policy.