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The acceleration of China’s nuclear program worries the Pentagon

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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The Pentagon is concerned about the acceleration of China’s nuclear program, noting that China is modernizing its military to “counter the United States” in the Indo-Pacific region and facilitate the reintegration of Taiwan, which it considers one of its provinces.

In a report released Wednesday, the US Department of Defense estimates that Beijing is developing its nuclear arsenal much faster than expected and can already launch ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads from land, sea and air.

“Accelerating China’s nuclear expansion could allow it to have 700 nuclear warheads by 2027,” notes this annual Pentagon report on China’s military capabilities. It is likely that Beijing will seek to possess at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, which is higher than the rate and volume estimated in 2020.”

In the previous version of this report to Congress, published on September 1, 2020, the Pentagon estimated that China had “about 200” nuclear warheads, but estimated that this number would double over the next 10 years.

With 700 nuclear warheads by 2027 and 1,000 by 2030, US military forecasts show a very strong acceleration of Beijing’s nuclear activities.

According to the document, it is possible that China has already created an emerging “nuclear triad”, that is, the ability to launch nuclear ballistic missiles from the sea, land and air.

To arrive at these numbers, the authors of the report relied in particular on statements by Chinese officials in state media and on satellite images that show the construction of a large number of nuclear silos, a senior official told the press. The Ministry of Defense, by submitting this document, of which only a part is published, and the rest is classified as a defense secret.

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The drops include ballistic and launcher-launched submarine missiles, as well as the “mobile missile force” that allows the missiles to be launched from trucks, according to the official, who asked not to be identified.

“It is very worrying for us,” he admitted, adding that this acceleration “raises questions about their intentions.”

Even with 1,000 nuclear warheads, China’s arsenal would be far from equal to that of the United States and Russia, which together have more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons: 5,550 for Washington and 6,255 for Moscow, according to Stockholm International Peace Estimates. Research Institute (SIPRI).

The report states that the Chinese Communist Party set itself in October 2020 the goal of modernizing its army’s theory, organization, personnel, armament and equipment by 2027.

“If achieved, these goals will give Beijing more credible military options against Taiwan,” the document said.

In response to a question on Wednesday during a conference about the short-term risk of an attack on Taiwan by China, the US chief of staff, General Mark Milley, estimated it “will not be likely” in the next 24 months.

He said the United States had the “absolute ability” to defend the island located less than 200 kilometers from the Chinese coast. “There is no doubt.”

Arms transfers have multiplied in recent weeks between China and the United States over the fate of the territory, which is governed by a democratic government, but Beijing considers it a Chinese province that it says is bent on a “reunification” by force. If necessary.

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US President Joe Biden recently asserted that the US has an “obligation” to militarily defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

This year the Pentagon added to its annual report a chapter on China’s chemical and biological research, which it considers “disturbing.”

The document states that “China has engaged in viable biological activities” in the military field. “Based on the information available, the United States cannot guarantee China’s compliance with the International Chemical Weapons Convention.”

Le haut responsable du Pentagone a précisé à la presse que ces activités n’étaient aucunement liées aux origines de la pandémie de Covid-19, que certaines théories attribuent à une fuite de laboratoire dans la ville chinoise la contagioné signal, que for the first time.

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