China has vehemently rejected a new Pentagon report released Tuesday that forecasts the communist-run country will at least double its number of nuclear warheads over the next decade.
“Over the next decade, China’s nuclear warhead stockpile — currently estimated to be in the low 200s — is projected to at least double in size as China expands and modernizes its nuclear forces,” the Pentagon stated in its annual report on Chinese military capabilities.
The report said China could do this based on its currently available nuclear material, and further that numbers of warheads for intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of threatening the US is “expected to grow to roughly 200 in the next five years.”
This is the first time the Pentagon has issued a specified numerical prediction related to China’s nuclear program. If accurate, this would mean that by the end of 2030, the PLA’s nuclear warhead arsenal would soar past 400 or 500 – still very far behind American and Russian arsenals – which each having well over 3,500 active nuclear warheads.
China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday slammed the report as full of “bias” and inaccurate information.
Arms Control Association has put the total number of China’s nuclear warheads at 320, compared to America’s significantly higher 3,800 stockpiled warheads.
Congress is currently debating a pending $700 billion defense authorization bill, also as Beijing has consistently rejected invitations to join three-way disarmament talks with the US and Russia, as the latter two attempt to keep the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty alive.
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