AP News: “China currently has about 400 nuclear warheads, and that number could grow to 1,500 by 2035.”
China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal and may quadruple the stockpile by 2035, a report released by the U.S. Defense Department on Tuesday disclosed.
The massive nuclear buildup will consolidate China’s place as the third biggest nuclear power behind Russia and the United States. With China and Russia forging a ‘de-facto military alliance‘ in November 2021, the Beijing-Moscow axis overwhelmingly surpasses the U.S.-led Western alliance in terms of a nuclear arsenal.
“As of January, the independent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated that China had 350 nuclear warheads; last year, DoD estimated that China would reach 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030,” Politico reported Tuesday. The Pentagon now believes that that number is expected to rise to 1500 in the next 13 years.
The Associated Press reported the DoD’s assessment:
China is expanding its nuclear force and is on pace to nearly quadruple the number of warheads it has by 2035, rapidly closing its gap with the United States, the Pentagon said in a report released Tuesday.
The report builds on the military’s warning last year that China is expanding its nuclear force much faster than U.S. officials had predicted, highlighting a broad and accelerating buildup of military muscle designed to enable Beijing to match or surpass U.S. global power by mid-century.
Last year, the Pentagon said the number of Chinese nuclear warheads could increase to 700 within six years and may top 1,000 by 2030. The new report says China currently has about 400 nuclear warheads, and that number could grow to 1,500 by 2035.
Beijing’s growing arsenal is creating uncertainty for the U.S. as it navigates how to deter two nuclear powers, Russia and China, simultaneously, the Pentagon said in its recent nuclear posture review. And China’s buildup also creates uncertainty about its intentions, said Bonny Lin, director of the China power project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Pentagon’s warning coincides with reports that Beijing is stepping up its military buildup. While under President Joe Biden’s watch, the U.S. Navy is preoccupied with getting its pronouns right, China has surpassed the U.S. regarding ship numbers.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has even grander military ambitions. Beijing plans a sweeping modernization of its armed forces by 2027 to coincide with the People’s Liberation Army’s 100th anniversary.
Beijing isn’t merely flexing its military muscles. It is apparently preparing for war. “Xi Jinping urges China’s military to be ready for war,” The South China Morning Post newspaper reported last month. In August, the PLA conducted large-scale military drills that simulated the invasion of Taiwan, the island nation Beijing seeks to annex.
Russia to Ramp up Nuclear Forces in 2023
It’s not just China. Its strategic ally, Russia, plans to build “infrastructure for its nuclear forces” in the coming months. “Russia’s defence minister has said it will focus on nuclear arms infrastructure in 2023, including facilities to accommodate new missile systems,” The Guardian reported Wednesday.
“When preparing the list of major construction facilities for 2023, special attention will be paid to construction in the interests of the strategic nuclear forces,” Russia Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, according to the state-run RIA news agency.
The new plans will consolidate Russia’s place as the world’s biggest nuclear power. “Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, with close to 6,000 warheads,” Reuters noted on Wednesday. According to the AP News, the “United States, by comparison, has 3,750 active nuclear warheads.”DONATE
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