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4 Nov, 2021 06:23

China is amassing nukes much faster than previously thought – Pentagon report

China is amassing nukes much faster than previously thought – Pentagon report

China is beefing up its nuclear arsenal a lot faster than Washington thought just a year ago, a new Pentagon report says, predicting that Beijing will own at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by the end of the decade.

The Department of Defense published its newest assessment of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) wartime potential in an annual report titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.

“The accelerating pace of the PLA’s nuclear expansion may enable the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to have up to about 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027,” a Pentagon official said, describing the key details of the report.

And the report states that the PRC likely intends to have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030 – exceeding the pace and the size that we projected in the 2020 China Military Power report.

The last year’s report claims that China’s existing nuclear warhead stockpile was “in the low 200s,” projecting that the number would at least double during the 2020s.

The US views China as a strategic rival on the world stage. The countries have accused each other of stirring up tensions around Taiwan and the wider South China Sea region.

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday that the US forces “absolutely have the capability” to defend Taiwan should Beijing try to seize the island. 

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At a regular press briefing, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the Pentagon’s report “ignores facts and is full of prejudice.”

Wang described the US as “the world’s largest source of nuclear threats,” because it has “the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world.”

The diplomat added that “as long as no country uses nuclear weapons against China, it will not be threatened by China’s nuclear weapons.”

According to the US Department of State, Washington’s stockpile consisted of 3,750 nuclear warheads as of September 2020.

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