BY TOM O’CONNOR ON 11/4/21 AT 12:29 PM EDTAD Loading
AChinese official has responded to the Pentagon‘s latest report on China’s military power in comments shared with Newsweek, saying it is the United States, not China, that is bringing the world closer to nuclear war.
The Department of Defense released on Wednesday its annual “Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China,” covering a wide range of assessments regarding China and its People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest armed forces and the top military competitor of the U.S.
Among the more notable findings was the observation that China was “accelerating the large-scale expansion of its nuclear forces,” which it was seeking to “modernize” and “diversify.” The report noted that the current number of Chinese warheads is believed to be “in the low-200s,” but stated that this number was expected to grow.
“The accelerating pace of the PRC’s nuclear expansion may enable the PRC to have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027,” the report found. “The PRC likely intends to have at least 1,000 warheads by 2030, exceeding the pace and size the DoD projected in 2020.”
These capabilities were noted specifically as they could potentially impact the U.S. The report added that the “number of warheads on the PRC’s land-based ICBMs capable of threatening the United States is expected to grow to roughly 200 in the next five years.”
In response to this report, the spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington offered a different characterization of his nation’s strategic prowess.
“China has always adhered to its self-defensive nuclear strategy,” the spokesperson told Newsweek. “China abides by the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and undertakes unequivocally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has never participated in any form of nuclear arms race, nor has it deployed nuclear weapons abroad.”NEWSWEEK SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS >
The spokesperson argued that the same could be said for the U.S., pointing to the Pentagon’s far larger arsenal, believed to consist of about 5,550 warheads.
“As we all know, the United States has the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world,” the spokesperson said. “The US has not only violated international consensus and refused to fulfill its special priority responsibility for nuclear disarmament, but also willfully ‘reneged’ and ‘withdrew’ from nuclear disarmament.”
He also highlighted the U.S. military budget that still soars above that of China, arguing that Washington “has spent trillions of dollars to upgrade its nuclear arsenal, lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons and expanded the scope of nuclear strikes, thus seriously undermining global strategic security and stability.”
“The world will decide who is doing nuclear madness,” the spokesperson said. “By smearing China and playing the trick of thief crying ‘stop thief,’ the US can only amuse itself and deceive the world.”https://d2f73b4511f718a93f838a1ecb9849ae.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
While both China and the U.S. have denied seeking to pursue a Cold War-style arms race, both they and fellow near-peer competitor Russia have set out to ramp up their capabilities in the nuclear realm.
At the center of this nuclear weapons development are next-generation hypersonic capabilities, including the fielding of boost-glide vehicles capable of better evading existing defense systems. Both the U.S. and Russia have openly begun testing such platforms, and recent reports in the Financial Times have suggested China has also conducted at least two tests this year.READ MORE