According to an assessment by the Pentagon, China plans to quadruple its nuclear reserves by 2030. The assessment shows that a change in Chinese policy will have a significant impact on the balance of military power.
The US Department of Defense stated that by 2027, China may have 700 deliverable nuclear warheads and will increase its inventory (currently estimated to be more than 200) to at least 1,000 by the end of the decade. Compared to estimates last year when the Pentagon stated that China was doubling its inventories, this marked a significant increase.
Caitlin Talmadge, a Chinese nuclear weapon expert at Georgetown University, said: “If this is an emoji, it is an’eye-opening’ emoji.”
The United States has 3,800 warheads and 1,800 deployed. Nuclear Information Project In the Federation of American Scientists.
The 2020 China Military Power Report released by the Pentagon on Wednesday stated that Beijing is “expanding the number of land-based, sea-based, and space-based nuclear delivery platforms and building the necessary infrastructure to support the large-scale expansion of its nuclear force.”
A few weeks ago, the “Financial Times” reported that China had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic weapon. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, later said that it was “very close” to the “sputnik moment”, referring to the Soviet Union. Launched the first artificial satellite in 1957.
At the time of the report, tensions between the United States and China remained high, including concerns about possible war in Taiwan. Military planners and experts worry that China is expanding its nuclear power to limit US options in the event of a conflict.
The Pentagon stated that the Chinese military is working hard to improve certain capabilities, which by 2027 will “provide Beijing with a more reliable military option in emergencies in Taiwan.” Admiral Philip Davidson, then commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, stated in April that China might take military action against Taiwan before 2027, but other experts were skeptical.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday, Milli said he believed that China would not take military action against Taiwan in the “near future”—that is, within the next two years—but warned that Beijing was developing such capabilities.
He said: “The Chinese are clearly and unambiguously building the ability to provide these options.” “But in the near future? Probably not. But anything can happen.”
President Obama’s former White House senior adviser to Asia, Evan Medros, said that the revelations in the Pentagon report marked a “new and more challenging type of Cold War”.
“This is a historic change in U.S.-China relations, accelerating competition and increasing distrust,” Medros said. “This development requires that arms control be on the agenda when President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a virtual summit later this year.”
The Pentagon stated that China is improving its ability to produce and separate plutonium by building fast breeder reactors and reprocessing facilities. Tarmac said this is a “big event” because it is seen as one of the constraints for China to accelerate the development of nuclear warheads that require fissile materials.
She added: “The nuclear deadlock between the United States and China is becoming more and more entrenched. Both sides are in a state of mutual fragility. Even if they preemptively strike, they cannot protect their country from nuclear attacks.”
China’s progress raises new questions as to whether China is moving away from its long-standing nuclear “minimum deterrence” policy designed to ensure the ability to respond to the first strike.
Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear non-proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said it is important to maintain some skepticism about the Pentagon’s predictions.
“I’m cautious about accepting the face value of 1,000 nuclear warheads, but it’s clear that the Chinese are no longer willing to accept US nuclear dominance,” Lewis added.
The Pentagon stated that after China has developed nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missiles and land-based and sea-based nuclear weapons, China may already have a “new nuclear trinity.” The report also confirmed that China is building hundreds of missile silos to accommodate intercontinental ballistic missiles, and is “at the forefront of the expansion of intercontinental ballistic missile forces compared with the large-scale launching silos carried out by other major powers.”
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