The Pentagon is concerned about the acceleration of China's nuclear program, noting that China is modernizing its military to “confront the United States” in the Indo-Pacific region and facilitate the reintegration of Taiwan, which it considers one of its provinces.
In a report released today, the US Department of Defense estimates that Beijing is developing its nuclear arsenal much faster than expected and that it can already launch ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads from the ground, sea and air.
“Accelerating China's nuclear expansion could allow it to have 700 nuclear warheads by 2027,” said the Pentagon's annual report on China's military capabilities. “Beijing is likely to aim to have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, a number higher than the estimated rate and volume by 2020.”
In an earlier version of this report to Congress, released on September 1, 2020, the Pentagon estimated that China had “nearly 200” nuclear warheads, but estimated that number would double over the next ten years.
With 700 nuclear warheads by 2027 and 1,000 by 2030, US military forecasts show a very strong acceleration in Beijing's nuclear activities.
China has probably already created a “nuclear trinity”, the ability to launch ballistic missiles from sea, land and air, according to the report.
To reach these figures, the report's authors relied mainly on statements by Chinese officials in the official media and on satellite images showing the construction of a significant number of nuclear silos, a senior Defense Ministry official told the press. , of which only a part has been made public as the rest has been declared a military secret.
The forecasts include submarine-launched ballistic missiles and bombers, as well as “mobile rocket power”, which allows missiles to be fired from trucks, according to the official, who asked not to be named.
“This worries us a lot,” he admitted, adding that the acceleration “raises questions about their intentions.”