The United States has expressed “concern” as China narrows the gap with the number of nuclear warheads held by each nation. The hike took the Pentagon by surprise, shows the annual report to Congress on Chinese military development from the US Department of Defense.
According to the report, China could have 700 nuclear warheads deliverable by 2027 and could exceed 1,000 by 2030.
Those numbers are two and a half times the size of what the Pentagon predicted just a year ago, when China had around 200 warheads and was expected to double that number by 2030.
The numbers are based on China’s rapid modernization of nuclear strike options and its construction of missile silos.
The report says China is building a “nuclear triad,” with nuclear weapons delivery capabilities from land-based ballistic missiles, air-launched missiles and submarines, he said. declared.
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By comparison, the United States has around 3,750 nuclear weapons and has no plans to increase, in fact the number has declined by around 10,000 since 2003.
The report says China is probably not seeking the ability to launch an unprovoked nuclear strike, but wanted to deter attacks by others by maintaining a credible threat of nuclear retaliation.
However, officials have always expressed concern over the Chinese intention.
A US defense official said: “The nuclear expansion that the [People’s Republic of China] this business is certainly of great concern to us.
They continued, “It’s one thing to watch what they’re doing, but they haven’t really explained why they’re doing it.
“They are moving in a direction that is significantly beyond what they previously were in terms of numbers and capabilities.”
The official said this “raises questions about their intentions.”
The highest general in the United States, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, has issued a stern warning about China’s military progress.
He said it was “one of the biggest changes in global geostrategic power the world has witnessed.”
The Pentagon has said China is its main future security concern, as Beijing aims to transform the People’s Liberation Army into “world-class forces” by 2049, according to its official plan.
China is expanding its air, space and sea forces, aligning its capabilities with those of great powers such as the United States and Russia.
The rivalry has heightened concerns about a possible clash between the United States and China, particularly over Taiwan, which China claims as its territory but which is closely supported by the United States.
The new US report also states that China’s rapid military modernization aims to have the capacity by 2027 to overcome any setbacks in an effort to reclaim Taiwan, through pressure or military force.
By 2027, the report says, China aims to have “the capabilities to counter the US military in the Indo-Pacific region and force Taiwan’s leaders to the negotiating table on Beijing terms.”
If China meets its 2027 target, the report said, it could hold a “range of different options” on Taiwan, from a blockade of the island to a potential amphibious invasion of Taiwan itself or the United States. one of the smaller outer islands.
The report showed that China aims to postpone foreign intervention in what it sees as a domestic issue concerning Taiwan.