Alwaght- The US Department of Defense disclosed its count of China's nuclear warheads and predicted that the country's stockpile of nuclear warheads may double this 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 claimed in its annual report on Chinese military power released Tuesday.
It added that within five years the Chinese government's intercontinental ballistic missiles will reach a threshold considered threatening for the US.
"The PRC is developing new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that will significantly improve its nuclear-capable missile forces," the Pentagon said. "The number of warheads on the PRC’s land-based ICBMs capable of threatening the United States is expected to grow to roughly 200 in the next five years."
The director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association undermined the report, asserting that even then the arsenal of the US and Russia will still be much more capable.
“Even if DoD is correct and China doubles its arsenal by 2030 to 400-500 warheads, China's arsenal will remain far smaller and less capable than that of the US and Russia,” tweeted Kingston Reif. “The foolishness of throwing away an extension of New START due to concerns about China can’t be overstated.”
The report further noted that, "China has already achieved parity with—or even exceeded—the United States in several military modernization areas," including shipbuilding, land-based conventional ballistic and cruise missiles and integrated air defense systems.
It added that Beijing is in possession of the "largest navy in the world," with some 350 ships and submarines, "including over 130 major surface combatants. In comparison, the US Navy's battle force is approximately 293 ships as of early 2020."