House Republican leaders on Friday warned Biden administration officials of a “direct threat” to the US posed by a Russian energy firm that is helping China produce nuclear weapons.
Three GOP committee chairmen in a letter to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Rosatom, a Kremlin-backed nuclear energy organization, was “helping the People’s Republic of China (PRC) acquire enough weapons-grade plutonium to fuel its strategic nuclear breakout.”
The House members — Armed Services chair Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Intelligence chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Foreign Affairs chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) — said Rosatom also “helps fuel Putin’s war efforts in Ukraine.”
“We call on the Administration to view this cooperation for what it is, a direct threat to U.S. security and more evidence that Russia and China are working in tandem against the United States,” the Republican lawmakers wrote in the letter.
“The Administration should use all tools at its disposal to stop Rosatom and the PRC’s dangerous cooperation,” they added, noting “the full application of sanctions, export controls, and diplomacy.”
The news comes during a period of tense US-China relations after a CCP spy balloon was spotted in Montana and later shot down after traveling across the rest of the country.
The head of US Strategic Command also told Congress in January that China now has more land-based intercontinental-range missile launchers than the US.
US Strategic Command Admiral Charles Richard called the new Chinese developments involving nuclear weapons a “strategic breakout.”
The US retains more land-based intercontinental-range missiles than China despite Beijing having developed more launchers for its missiles.
The letter was also addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
“The longer we wait to act, the more difficult it will be to address Rosatom’s nefarious and malign dealings,” the GOP members said, adding that the entity was “only getting stronger.”
“Putin uses these funds to fund his war machine and keep his favorite weapons programs on schedule,” they added.
“In short, every dollar and euro that Rosatom brings in directly finances the death and destruction we see in Ukraine, China’s nuclear weapon expansion, and is a direct threat to the American way of life,” the lawmakers told the administration.
They applauded the administration’s “steps to sanction three Rosatom subsidiaries on February 24, 2023.”
The Republicans asked for the Biden administration to have briefed Congress on the matter by April 17, 2023.