The Pentagon released a report on Tuesday, November 29, stating that if China keeps building nuclear weapons at the current pace, it could have 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035.
According to the report, currently, in 2021, China has a stockpile of about 400 warheads.
They predict that by 2030, China will have increased their nuclear warheads to 1,000 and the 2035 prediction was based on the same rate of expansion.
According to Reuters, this number shows the U.S.’s concern about China’s expanding nuclear stockpile. However, the report does not imply that China is pushing its warhead production.
Still, at the Chinese Communist Party’s recent Nation Congress in October, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that China would improve its strategic deterrence —a fancy term for nuclear weapons.
At a news briefing about the Pentagon’s annual report on China’s military, a senior U.S. defense official said:
“They’ve got a rapid buildup that is kind of too substantial to keep under wraps.”
China claims that the U.S. and Russia have much bigger arsenals than it does. It is prepared for discussion if the U.S. reduces its nuclear weapons to the same level as China’s.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think-tank, the U.S. has 3,700 nuclear weapons, of which 1,740 are in use.
The report raises concern about how Beijing is putting more and more pressure on Taiwan, which China sees as a rebellious province.
The U.S. official said it was unlikely that China would invade Taiwan at this time.