China will have 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035 if it continues to increase its nuclear stockpile at its current rate, according to a new Pentagon report released last night (Wednesday).
In 2020, the United States estimated that China has about 200 nuclear warheads and that This figure will double within a decade. Just two years later, China doubled the amount. Given the rapid pace of armament, the country is expected to stockpile 1,500 nuclear warheads, according to the 2022 China Military Power report.
"What we have seen in the last two years is mainly the rapid pace of arming," said a senior American official.
The figure highlights the growing concern in the United States about China's intentions to expand its nuclear stockpile.
The most populous country in the world uses its military as a tool to produce an international system that operates according to its worldview, and is "the biggest systemic and significant challenge to the national security of the United States," according to the report.
"We've seen a series of new capabilities and new numbers that raise questions about China's long-term intentions," the senior official said in a press briefing.
Chinese nuclear submarine, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
China conducted 135 ballistic missile tests in 2021, according to the report, more than the number of tests conducted in the entire world combined last year (not including ballistic missiles used in the war in Ukraine, the report noted).
The Pentagon's forecast of 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030 remains unchanged, the senior official said.
According to China, its nuclear weapons stockpile is significantly smaller than that of the United States or Russia.
According to her, she is ready for dialogue, provided that Washington cuts its stockpile of nuclear weapons to China's level.
The United States has a stockpile of 3,700 nuclear warheads, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The report again underscores concerns about Beijing's growing pressure on sovereign Taiwan, which China claims belongs to it. The US official said Washington does not see a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the near future.
Asia and the Pacific