Washington: China is likely to have a stockpile of around 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035. The US Defense Department gave this information. China currently has an estimated 400 weapons. Beijing aims to modernize, diversify and expand its nuclear forces over the next decade, the Pentagon said on Tuesday in its annual report to the US Congress on China’s ambitious military programme.
He said that China’s current nuclear modernization exercise is on a much larger scale than previous modernization efforts. The report said that China is increasing the number of land, sea and air-based nuclear platforms and building the necessary infrastructure to expand its nuclear forces. It has been said that China may accelerate its nuclear expansion in 2021. The Pentagon has estimated that the stockpile of operational nuclear weapons in China has crossed 400.
According to reports, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) plans to “complete the modernization” of its national defense and armed forces by 2035. It states, ‘If China expands nuclear at this pace, it can store about 1,500 warheads by 2035.’ A senior official said, “Their (China’s) goal is to expand its national power through domestic and foreign policy initiatives, so one of the global security initiatives that Chinese President Xi Jinping launched … is that China wants to portray itself as a provider of global public goods.
The official said more drastic and aggressive actions have taken place in the Indo-Pacific region, some of which the US would characterize as “dangerous”. He said that Chinese ships have behaved in an unsafe and unprofessional manner in the Indian Pacific region. Responding to the Pentagon’s report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that in recent years, the US “Danger from China” is exaggerating the US so that it can find an excuse to expand its nuclear weapons and maintain its military dominance.
According to the Pentagon report, Chinese diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure against Taiwan has been intensified. The report highlights increased military pressure in 2021 and its further increase in 2022, especially due to the visit of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. The Pentagon said last year that the number of Chinese nuclear weapons could increase to 700 within six years and 1,000 by 2030. The new report said that China currently has about 400 nuclear weapons and this number could increase to 1,500 by 2035. The US has 3,750 active nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao underlined in Beijing that China’s nuclear policy is consistent and clear. He said, ‘We follow the strategy of developing nuclear for our defense. We stick to the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons. We have exercised extreme restraint in developing nuclear capabilities. We have retained that minimum capability which is necessary for national security. We are not involved in any arms race. Zhao also said that America has the largest nuclear stockpile in the world.
FIRST PUBLISHED : November 30, 2022, 22:38 IST
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