China Will Nearly Quadruple Its Nuclear Warheads by 2035

Country is building up its stockpile at a rapid pace: Pentagon report
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2022 2:06 AM CST
China on Track for 1.5K Nuclear Warheads by 2035: Pentagon
FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at an event to introduce new members of the Politburo Standing Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 23, 2022.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

China is building up its stockpile of nuclear warheads at a fast clip, and if it keeps up its current pace, it will have 1,500 of them by 2035, according to the Pentagon's most recent annual report on China's military. In 2020, the US estimated China's stockpile of nuclear warheads to be in the low 200s, and predicted it would double within 10 years, CNN reports. But this year's report shows that's already happened: The number is already expected to be at more than 400, and the prediction is that that number will nearly quadruple in the next dozen years. The US stockpile is about 3,750, and China has said it will only engage in dialogue on the matter if the US first gets its number down to China's level.

Of China's current pace, "They've got a rapid buildup that is kind of too substantial to keep under wraps," said a senior US defense official during a news briefing on the report, per Reuters. The report also highlighted US concerns of what it calls a "new normal" of heightened military activity around Taiwan, ABC News reports. While the report says the US does not anticipate that an invasion of the self-governing democratic island is imminent, it does see signs that China, which considers Taiwan part of its sovereign territory, used Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island this year to dial up pressure in the area. "We see the PLA doing things like the increased crossings over the center line, and behavior that appears to be intended to kind of intimidate or sort of wear down Taiwan," says the official. (Read more China stories.)

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