While the world is busy with the Corona plague, negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran and the Glasgow Climate Conference, China has taken an unprecedented step that could mean a return to the patterns remembered from the previous century of arms race.
Last week, China conducted a first-of-its-kind weapons experiment that terrorizes experts in the West, and if indeed in the hands of the giant from the East, could change the balance of power in military technology beyond recognition.
Although Beijing vehemently denies the allegations and claims that it was an experimental space vehicle launch, experts believe that China has conducted an experiment with the FOBS system, a split-circuit bomber system.
The system, originally designed by the Soviet Union but abandoned in favor of the development of conventional bombers and ballistic missiles, allows the bombing of precision missiles within a low orbit around the Earth, i.e. on the edge of the atmosphere.
The benefits of this cave are clear.
It makes it difficult to locate and intercept the missiles, it is impossible to guess the target of the attack before it occurs due to the trajectory of the system around the light bulb and it is able to carry several missiles and launch them comfortably towards the target.
But experts say China has added hypervocal propulsion to its system, which could make it immune to any kind of interception from Earth.
Chinese bombers on their way to Taiwan airspace, Photo: AP
"The simplest way to imagine this system is to think of a space shuttle that has nuclear missiles in its trunk and has no landing gear. A hyper-sonic cruise phone does a similar job only it lands at its target, then it explodes. The Chinese probably combined the two. "Professor Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlborough Institute for International Studies in Monterey explains to American public radio.
If this is indeed true and China holds or is close to developing such an operational system, it is a huge step forward and a huge threat to the supremacy of the United States.
The question is why China, which is currently at a fairly safe point militarily, is interested in being dragged into this kind of new cold war.
"Beijing fears that the United States will use a variety of modern and advanced means such as missile interception and kinetic damage from space to rob it of its nuclear deterrent capability. Which will make them vulnerable, "Lewis explains.
There are those who believe that an approach of restricting the US missile defense program is a solution that will prevent the escalation of the arms race.
Dr Ankit Panda, a geopolitical researcher from the Carnegie Center, explains: "Putting the defense program on the negotiating table will allow the United States to bring China and Russia back into the groove and prevent an armaments process that will impoverish all sides and endanger world security."
Taiwan Army Armored Corps Parade in Taipei,
However, it is not at all certain that Beijing will now settle for a return to the previous state of nuclear deterrence, especially now that it sees a clear military target before its eyes.
In a speech last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping threatened to "crush" any possibility of Taiwanese independence and warned that the military option was not out of the question.
Shai's words are not just a rhetorical device.
China has carried out a series of flights in recent months during which dozens of Chinese Air Force planes infiltrated Taiwan's security zone, including nuclear bombers.
The Chinese military has practiced amphibious landings on the country's shores, signaling in preparation for a possible attack on Taipei territory.
The possibility of flare-ups, even limited, between Taiwan and China is a very good reason for Beijing decision-makers to want to achieve more advanced nuclear deterrence in the United States, in order to motivate Washington from thoughts of intervening in such a confrontation, but the result could be a long arms race Expensive to drag the two powers into a spin of financial spending and belligerent rhetoric.