China will have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, a Pentagon report warns World News

China is expected to have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, according to a new U.S. military projection – a major boost to its nuclear weapons program.

The Pentagon’s analysis sharply increased its assessment of Chinathe upcoming nuclear weapons capability of the coming years, in its latest report.

It projected Beijing could have 700 explosives by 2027 and would increase that number in the years to come.

While China’s nuclear stock would remain lower than that of the United States and Russia, analysts said it is worrying because it is coming at a time when Beijing is increasingly firm, especially in its own backyard.

The previous projection was that the Chinese arsenal would exceed 400 by the end of the decade.

The United States has often called on China to join it and Russia on a new arms control treaty.

In its annual report to Congress on China’s military strength, the Pentagon emphasized tensions over the self-governing island of Taiwan, which China views as a remote province, and discussed China’s chemical and biological programs and technological advances.

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Formation of a group of intercontinental strategic nuclear missiles Dongfeng-41 shown in 2019. Image: AP

It said open warfare was unlikely, but supported an idea emerging in the United States that the Chinese military, called the People’s Liberation Army or PLA, is determined to challenge the United States in all military arenas – air, land, sea, space and cyberspace.

China is pursuing a network of foreign bases and logistics hubs that will “be able to impede” U.S. military operations and support Chinese military operations against the U.S., the report added.

But it most emphasized the growing size of China’s nuclear arsenal, saying: “Over the next decade, the PRC. [China] aims to modernize, diversify, and expand its nuclear power. “

The report added: “The developing capabilities and concepts of the PLA continue to be strengthened [China’s] ability to “fight and win wars” against a “strong enemy” – a likely euphemism for the United States. “

Chinese ballistic missiles DF-41 during a parade of 2019 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.  Image: AP
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Chinese ballistic missiles DF-41 during a parade of 2019 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Image: AP

What is China’s nuclear capability?

The Pentagon’s previous estimate was that the number of Chinese explosives was in the “low 200s”. This compares with 3,750 U.S. nuclear warheads, of which 1,389 were deployed on 1 September.

The Pentagon report said the Chinese may now have what is known as the nuclear triad – the combination of land, sea and air-launched missiles that the U.S. and Russia has had for decades.

The air-launched ballistic missile is the latest to be developed.

The report added that the country’s military has begun building at least three intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silo fields that “cumulatively contain hundreds” of underground silos from which ICBMs could be launched.

A satellite image said shows an intercontinental ballistic silo built near Hami, China.  Image: AP / Planet Labs
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A satellite image said shows an intercontinental ballistic silo built near Hami, China. Image: AP / Planet Labs

China says its arsenal is a fraction of that owned by the United States and Russia, and it is ready for dialogue, but only if Washington reduces its nuclear stockpile to China’s level.

President Joe Biden‘s administration is conducting a comprehensive review of its nuclear policy and has not said how that could be affected by concerns about Chinese activities.

The Pentagon report was based on the situation in December 2020 and therefore does not include a reference to China’s apparent attempts at a hypersonic weapon.

A Long March-2F Y13 rocket carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft was launched over the weekend - China is said to have tested its hypersonic weapon in August.
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Long March-2F Y13 rocket carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft – China reportedly tested its hypersonic weapon in August

What is the danger?

Beijing has promised to bring Taiwan, an established democracy, under its rule and its military increasingly active in the strait between the island and the mainland.

The Pentagon report outlined several scenarios that Beijing could follow, including everything from a joint blockade campaign against Taiwan to a full-scale amphibious invasion, air and missile attacks, cyberattacks or capturing offshore islands.

But a senior U.S. defense official, who briefed reporters after the report was released, declined to say whether they saw a risk of an armed conflict between Beijing and Taipei and declined to say which scenario was the most likely.

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Could China wage war on Taiwan?

In particular, the top U.S. general said on Wednesday that China is unlikely to attempt to capture Taiwan in the next two years.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Chiefs of Staff, said: “Based on my analysis of China, I don’t think it’s likely any time soon – being defined as, you know, six, 12, maybe 24 months., Such a window.”

What are the other risks?

The Pentagon report included a section on China’s biological weapons program, but did not look at whether COVID-19 originated there.

It questioned, however, whether China is complying with international agreements on biological and chemical weapons, citing studies of “potent toxins” conducted at military medical institutions.

The P4 laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology is seen behind a fence during the visit of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 3, 2021.
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The Wuhana Institute of Virology has been highlighted as a possible source of the COVID pandemic

Attention is being paid to China’s chemical and biological capabilities after COVID-19 was first identified in late 2019 in Vuhano, where there is a biological research facility.

China has consistently denied allegations that the virus was leaked from the laboratory.

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