Andrew Tate, London – Jane’s Defence Weekly
11 May 2020
China displayed its DF-41 ICBM during a military parade held at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on 1 October 2019. An opinion piece in the newspaper advocated an increase in China’s stockpile of warheads to 1,000 and in the number of DF-41 ICBMs to 100. Source: Via CGTN video footage
An opinion piece advocating an increase in China’s stockpile of warheads to 1,000 and in the number of DF-41 ICBMs to 100 was written by Hu Xilin, editor-in-chief of the state-owned Global Times newspaper, and published online in the English-language version of the paper on 8 May.
In addition to Hu’s opinion piece, the paper published a longer report under the heading ‘China urged to expand nuclear arsenal to deter US-warmongers’ stating that ‘military experts’ were calling for both an increase in the number of nuclear warheads and the establishment of a triad of land, sea and air nuclear forces, with the introduction of the anticipated H-20 strategic bomber and the JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile.
Although neither a report nor an opinion piece in Global Times can be assumed to reflect official policy, the paper falls within the ambit of the People’s Daily newspaper – the media mouthpiece of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China – and so is unlikely to be advancing a line that is not at least under consideration by the leadership. Furthermore, the publication of two articles on the subject in the same edition appears to reflect the intent to draw attention to the issue.
The Global Times reporting follows testimony given to the US House Armed Services Committee on 27 February by James H Anderson, acting as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defence for Policy at the Department of Defense (DoD), who stated that the US believes that China will “at least double” the size of its nuclear weapons stockpile over the next 10 years.