A Pentagon report has warned that China’s rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal is expanding at a much faster rate than it was a year ago, while a new Chinese military modernization target would give Beijing a “more credible military operation in Taiwan”. Can do.
According to the annual “China Military Power” report presented to the Pentagon’s Congress, the rapid pace of China’s nuclear expansion could help Beijing obtain 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027, with at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030. Beijing’s intention to target was released on Wednesday.
That pace is much higher than projected in the Pentagon’s 2020 report, which said China’s nuclear arsenal was a little over 200 and was expected to double by the end of the decade.
The United States’ nuclear arsenal, with an estimated 3,800 warheads in active status, would still dwarf the Chinese arsenal.
The Pentagon report was based on information about China’s military capabilities that was collected as of December 2020. It does not include information about China’s hypersonic weapons tests conducted last summer, which the top US military official recently said “have our full attention.”
Meanwhile, the report said that China has added a new milestone for modernization in 2027 to accelerate the integrated development of its armed forces.
According to a senior defense official, the Chinese military’s 2027 aspirations will allow the force to better network its capabilities that could “constrain” or “force” Taiwan to move toward independence, while any potential May delay or counteract third party intervention. US and other Taiwanese allies.
“We are obviously concerned about their efforts to develop their capabilities for 2027 and are watching this very closely,” the official said, adding that a future target is China’s pressure campaign on Taiwan. The Pentagon’s “right now” does not alleviate current concerns. 2016.
During that time Beijing has intensified its public statements calling for reunification with Taiwan, rising tensions with Taipei’s elected leaders who want to keep the island as a self-governing entity.
According to the report, China’s modernization and expansion of its nuclear force is part of a broader effort aimed at matching, and in some cases, surpassing the United States military as the dominant power in the Indo-Pacific region by 2049. Is.
Speaking in Washington on Wednesday at an event organized by the Aspen Institute, the top US military official said China’s military modernization was part of “a fundamental change” in the “character” of modern warfare.
“We are witnessing one of the biggest changes in global geostrategic power,” said General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. other technology.
“If we, the United States military, do not make a fundamental change in ourselves in the coming 10, 15, 20 years, we are going on the wrong side of a conflict,” he said.
VOA’s Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.
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