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In line with its recently announced National Security Strategy (NSS), the Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) takes an aggressive stance toward China — a position already raising concerns in Beijing.

The NSS breaks with its predecessors by portraying China unambiguously as a global threat, at one point even lumping it in with ISIS. The NPR heaps additional pressure on Beijing by ordering the development of new low-yield warheads and cruise missiles. The Trump administration justifies such moves as a necessary response to the prospect of limited Chinese nuclear strikes. However, China’s policy calls for the use of nuclear weapons only in retaliation to a nuclear attack.

In Beijing, analysts close to the government worry that the NPR indicates the U.S. may be shoring up plans to fight and win a nuclear war against China, especially since the NSS now frames China as its primary military rival. Beijing may now feel pressured to expand the size of its nuclear arsenal in response.

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Frank O’Donnell is a Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center and a nonresident fellow in the Stimson Center’s South Asia Program.

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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