China is rapidly building its stockpile of nuclear warheads, according to the Pentagon’s latest annual report on China’s military, claiming it will have 1,500 warheads by 2035.
The U.S. has expressed concern over what is considered a “new normal” of heightened military tension following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.
The Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, a congressional mandate report, affirms that China “presents the most consequential and systemic challenge to U.S. national security and the free and open international system.”
"Based on the trend lines in the report, I think we can judge that the PRC [People's Republic of China] has increasingly turned to the PLA [People's Liberation Army] as kind of one of the key instruments of statecraft that it wants to use to pursue its interests," a senior defense official told reporters. "And that has serious implications for U.S. security interests, our allies and partners' interests, and for the international rules-based order more broadly."
Last year’s Pentagon report projected China to have 700 warheads by 2027 and 1,000 by 2030.
With the increasing stockpile, the United States retains military supremacy with 3,750 warheads capable of being deployed by land-based and sea missile sites and a strategic bomber fleet.
China publicly set its target date for its military to be 2027, when the People’s Liberation Army is “a more credible military tool for the Communist Party to wield as it pursues Taiwan unification.”
The year 2035 is set for the completion of the PLA’s modernization, and 2049 is expected to be the year China’s military becomes a global force.
The report noted China’s heightened military activity around Taiwan over the past two years. It has “increased provocative and destabilizing actions in and around the Taiwan Strait, to include increased flights into Taiwan’s self-declared Air Defense Identification Zone and conducting island seizure exercises.”
Activity peaked in August when speaker Pelosi visited Taiwan. Now the intensity has become in essence a “new normal,” according to a senior defense official.
"We see the PLA doing things like the increased crossings over the center line and behavior that appears to be intended to kind of intimidate or sort of wear down Taiwan," remarked the official.
The Pentagon’s report comes only two weeks after President Biden met with China’s President Xi Jinping in Indonesia.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.