China’s rapid nuclear horn expansion worries US

China’s rapid nuclear arsenal expansion worries US

January 7, 202211 Views5 Min Read

ANI |
Updated: 07 January 2022 12:26 IST

Washington [US], Jan. 7 (ANI): The US Department of Defense report indicates that China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal. The report has sparked debate and has raised concerns for the US. Satellite photos taken in 2021 also indicated that Beijing was finally dramatically expanding its nuclear arsenal, The National Interest said.
This is contrary to the Chinese position on nuclear weapons. The People’s Liberation Army tested a nuclear delivery system in space in October, suggesting it is working on more weapons to counter the US’s limited-capacity missile defense systems.
Historically, China has always maintained that it has a significantly smaller nuclear arsenal than Russia or the US. China calls it “minimal deterrence,” meaning it has just enough nuclear power to ensure Beijing’s retaliatory strike. Also, Beijing’s No First Use policy claims that nuclear weapons would only be used in response to an enemy’s first nuclear strike, the US-based think tank reported.
So is the current dramatic expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal a sham?
In summary, two reports published in late 2021 offer a measured perspective on changes in China’s nuclear forces: military and security developments involving the People’s Republic of China, released by the Ministry of Defense; and Chinese Nuclear Forces 2021 by Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen, the think tank said.
Now the question arises how many nuclear weapons China possesses and how many does it want?
According to the Defense Ministry, China is estimated to have nuclear warheads of “low 200s” by 2020, a total expected to double, while the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates the figure at 350.
However, according to the Ministry of Defense forecast for 2021, a new normal has emerged.
“The accelerating pace of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) nuclear expansion could enable the PRC to have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027,” the report states. “The PRC probably plans to have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, exceeding the pace and magnitude projected by the DoD in 2020,” the think tank said.
For example, the United States has 1,550 atomic bombs on active duty and many more in reserve. Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) inventory is estimated to be in the hundreds.
Is Beijing now more likely to use nuclear weapons as a form of coercion, including more “usable” tactical nuclear weapons with lower yields?

Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, published by the Ministry of Defense, and Chinese Nuclear Forces 2021, by Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen, published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, are two reports worth reading about China’s nuclear doctrine and capabilities. Despite their differences in epistemological orientations, the assessments as a whole paint a balanced picture of China’s nuclear forces.
How many nuclear weapons does China have and how many does it want? The Defense Ministry estimated that China had nuclear warheads of “low 200s” by 2020, and the total was expected to double, while the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimated the figure at 350.
However, according to the Ministry of Defense forecast for 2021, a new normal has emerged.
“The PRC’s nuclear growth could accelerate to the point where it will have up to 700 nuclear warheads by 2027,” the study said. “By 2030, the PRC is expected to have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads, much higher than the rate and size predicted by the Pentagon in 2020.”
In addition, US researchers, using satellite imagery, saw 300 missile silos under construction in various remote areas of China.
That includes 120 silos in Yumen, Gansu Province; 110 silos at Hami in Xinjiang Province; and 80 silos in the Ordos, Inner Mongolia, a region of China, the think tank said.
The Bulletin warns that the US Department of Defense forecast appears to be based on building Chinese silos. The Bulletin warns that some silos may remain empty, forcing US nuclear strategists to waste counter-force missiles in a “grenade game” tactic.
Another question is, does China have a radioactive chemical element, plutonium, for building nuclear missiles?
The US-based think tank said China halted military plutonium production in the mid-1980s, but has enough material to double its force, according to the Bulletin — “but for a tripling — and certainly a quadrupling — would probably increase the production of additional material.” .”
These could produce enough material for 990-1550warheads, according to the Bulletin, which “could exceed” [the intercontinental ballistic missile force] from both Russia and the United States.”
On the other hand, Russia and the US maintain a Launch-on-Warning (Low) attitude, with land-based nuclear missiles on high alert 24 hours a day. These missiles are ready to counterattack as soon as an incoming attack is detected.
The Defense Ministry report claims that China is also taking “an attitude called an early warning counter strike, which is broadly similar to the attitude of the US and Russia in the Low Countries,” the think tank said.
The Pentagon’s report clearly indicates that China is on track to significantly expand its nuclear weapons and raises concerns about Beijing’s increasingly aggressive stance. (ANI)

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