× China’s nuclear stockpile growing at ‘accelerating pace,’ will have 1,000 warheads by 2030: Pentagon
China’s nuclear arsenal is growing at an “accelerating pace” and will have around 1,000 warheads in 10 years, according to a new Pentagon report released Thursday.
The assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency estimates the number of China’s active nuclear weapons program to be around 1,000, a 34% increase over a decade. This growth includes both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.
But, the report says, while Chinese nuclear modernization remains a challenge, Washington and its allies should not feel overly threatened by Beijing’s nuclear ambitions, as it remains a “low-priority” for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Chinese warheads are less likely to be dispersed in the event of an attack, and more likely to be deployed only at times of significant coercion, the assessment says.
It adds, however, that Beijing’s growing nuclear weapon stockpile will increase “greater perceptions of threat,” heightening the risk of miscalculation.
“Increased capabilities of a responsive Chinese nuclear force will lessen the degree of perceived vulnerability of US Asia-Pacific partners and allies, particularly to conventional armed attack or even to covert action by a single actor, but this will not counter a nuclear attack by a superior adversary,” it says.
The assessment comes as President Xi Jinping’s military, dubbed the “wolfpack,” marks its 60th anniversary this year.
In January, a US official acknowledged that China has begun building land-based missiles that would allow it to strike Guam, a US Pacific territory.
The report came as tensions between Beijing and Washington have surged, with each jostling for dominance in Asia and in the wider Indo-Pacific region.
US President Donald Trump has announced his intention to withdraw from the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) in a bid to strengthen American defense ties with Seoul.
The White House believes the pact will hamper American goals in the region, particularly in the area of technological self-sufficiency.