Washington: In recent years, China has stepped up its aggressive posture toward the United States and its regional allies and amid this, a top US general has warned of Beijing's expanding nuclear arsenal and added that it does not reflect minimal deterrence.

The US Air Force General Anthony Cotton made these remarks as he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Speaking to the lawmakers reviewing his nomination to lead U.S. Strategic Command, the general said that the military's assessment of China's nuclear mettle had changed dramatically since 2018," reported Washington Post.

Earlier, Beijing was judged as requiring "minimal nuclear deterrence" and the Pentagon's nuclear posture review had assessed China's ambitions as being focused on "regional hegemony," the general said, the Washington Post report noted.

It is worth noting that the top general is US Joe Biden's nominee to take over the US military's nuclear arsenal and the missile-defence operations. On Thursday, the general warned that China's rise as a nuclear power poses historical threats and challenges requiring a revaluation of current policies.

"We have seen the incredible expansiveness of what they're doing with their nuclear force -- which does not, in my opinion, reflect minimal deterrence. They have a bona fide triad now," Cotton said explaining that the Chinese military has nuclear-capable forces that operate on land, and in the air and sea.

One of the other interesting points that the general added is that the US approach toward Russia will not work for China in order to address the nuclear threat posed. He added that Russia's nuclear aims are familiar to the United States and date back decades to the Cold War. Beijing and Moscow, the general said, "act differently, from a doctrine's perspective," reported The Washington Post.

Historically, Beijing did not possess the arsenal of the two major Cold War superpowers, nor were its nuclear ambitions regarded in Washington as the same as Moscow's intensity. "We need to seriously consider that we are entering a new, trilateral nuclear competition era," the committee chairman, Rhode Island Democratic Senator Jack Reed told Cotton.

"You will be responsible for continuing to ensure that the United States and its allies can deter not one, but two near-peer nuclear adversaries, something your predecessors did not face."