SEATTLE -- China has revealed to the world it has a nuclear submarine program. Along with that, state-run media has also revealed targets for sub-based nuclear missiles. A map shows Seattle as a prominent target.
China expert Gordon Chang is the author of "The Coming Collapse of China," and says this is a threat that needs to be taken very seriously.
"Of course, the United States has nuclear submarines," he said, "but we don't talk about incinerating Chinese cities and showing diagrams with blast radiuses. This is clearly very hostile, very aggressive, and we need to take note of this."
The Washington Times has linked to an image it says is on the state-owned Daily Times newspaper out of China. It shows a map of the United States covered in four different colors. In dark red are Seattle and San Francisco. In orange, the rest of the west coast and much of the area west of the Rockies. In yellow, it's presumably a fallout map that reaches Milwaukee. The areas covered in white are likely not reachable by submarine warheads.
"We definitely need to look at this with a wary eye, because this threat was specific," said Chang, "and certainly it is the most hostile you can imagine, because they're talking about killing millions of Americans."
He says the military in China has begun to flex its muscle in Chinese politics, and China's new president wants to prove himself as a leader.
"Xi Jinping needs the support of the generals and admirals, and they have generally been much more aggressive. They're certainly much more skeptical of a relation with the United States, so I think the Flag Officers are driving this, which is a very worrying sign," Chang said.
What strikes Chang is the boldness with which this map is displayed. He says it would not have been shown in public unless the government wanted it released. "The Chinese are very good at showing us what their intentions are, unfortunately we haven't been listening. I hope this series of newspaper articles, in the most important media outlets in China, wake up the American establishment."
Should people who live in Seattle be concerned? Chang thinks so. "We know this is not just rhetoric, because there have been Chinese generals who have made very specific threats to launch missiles against the United States. "
China is one of the biggest trading partners of the United States, and it's loaned this country over $1 trillion dollars.
That's a fact more rational leaders will have to take into account as the tensions rise between the two nations.