Pentagon concerned by China's nuclear ambitions, expects warheads to double

DY365
DY365
Published: September 2,2020 03:40 PM
DY365

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September 2, 2020: China is expected to at least double the number of its nuclear warheads over the next 10 years

September 2, 2020: China is expected to at least double the number of its nuclear warheads over the next 10 years - from an estimated figure in the low 200s it has now - and is nearing the ability to launch nuclear attacks by land, air and sea, a capacity known as a triad, the Pentagon has revealed.



Aside from aiming for technological parity with the United States, the People’s Liberation Army is also focused on conducting joint operations, to be able to deter or defeat any US effort to intervene on Taiwan’s behalf, a report said.





The annual report to Congress on China's military marks the first time it has put a number to China's nuclear warheads. The Federation of American Scientists has estimated that China has about 320.



“It is likely that Beijing will seek to develop a military by mid-century that is equal to -- or in some cases superior to -- the US military, or that of any other great power that the PRC views as a threat,” the report said.



If China achieves that goal and the United States fails to address it, the report said, it “will have serious implications for US national interests and the security of the international rules-based order.”





A Pentagon official said that although China remains far behind the United States in terms of nuclear warheads, the acceleration shows Beijing moving from its traditional “minimum deterrence posture” to full-fledged competition.



“Combined with a near-complete lack of transparency regarding their strategic intent and the perceived need for a much larger, more diverse nuclear force, these developments pose a significant concern for the United States,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Chad Sbragia.



He said the military expansion is part of China’s overall strategy for a sweeping modernization and to establish itself as a leading global power by 2049.