INTERNATIONAL

Pentagon Report: China Increasing Nuclear Arsenal

According to a recent Pentagon report to the US Congress, China has a sizable stockpile of more than 500 nuclear weapons and is aggressively working to construct improved intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The research emphasizes China’s continuous efforts to strengthen its nuclear capabilities and projects fast modernization, diversification, and development over the next ten years.

New ICBMs being developed by the People’s Republic of China will greatly improve its nuclear missile capability. This development implies a rise in nuclear warhead manufacturing, partially as a result of the development of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) capabilities.

Notably, the Pentagon assessment makes the assumption that China may be looking at developing intercontinental missile systems with conventional weapons, giving them the capacity to conduct conventional strikes on targets within the mainland United States, Hawaii, and Alaska.

The research emphasizes the possible threats to strategic stability associated with the use of conventionally armed ICBMs. The sheer size and complexity of these initiatives set the present phase of China’s nuclear modernization apart from earlier attempts a decade ago. China is making considerable expenditures in the infrastructure required for future growth of its nuclear capabilities as well as greatly extending its land, sea, and air-based nuclear delivery systems.

China’s nuclear arsenal was thought to have more than 500 active nuclear weapons as of May 2023. According to projections made by the US Department of Defense, China would have more than 1,000 operable nuclear weapons by 2030. China aims to keep building up its nuclear arsenal until 2035, with these weapons being kept at greater readiness levels. This is in line with China’s broad goal of fundamentally finishing its military modernization by 2035, an important step on the road to President Xi Jinping’s goal of having a world-class military by 2049.

In conclusion, China’s current nuclear activities have reached a level of complexity and size never before seen. Their activities include developing new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), increasing the production of nuclear warheads, and maybe investigating intercontinental missile systems with conventional weapons. Concerning issues that need particular consideration are the effects of these developments on both global security and strategic stability.

 

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