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Pentagon released a report warning the US and its allies about China’s rapid increase of nuclear warheads. According to their intelligence gathering, China has amassed 400 nuclear warheads in the span of two years.
This pace is lighting up all the red flags for Pentagon as China continues to confront Taiwan about its independence.
The dwindling US advantage over China in terms of its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is just one indicator of the Asian powerhouse’s alarming increase in its nuclear arsenal in recent years. From building new facilities to modernizing existing ones, China’s capabilities have been steadily increasing at an unprecedented rate due to various factors, such as technological advancements and economics. The US is not the only country concerned about this rise either; many countries worldwide are now worried about how their balance of power could be affected by a bigger nuclear force than their own.
“We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to China’s growing military might,” Inhofe wrote on Twitter, where he publicized the letter. “The [Biden administration] must be open and honest with the American people about the threat Beijing poses to global order and our way of life.”
In terms of physical components, it is estimated that China currently possesses around 400 nuclear warheads, with more than half already being equipped for delivery on ballistic missiles. In contrast, the US, Russia, France, Great Britain, and India all possess significantly larger stockpiles (between 500-900 warheads). The US’ nuclear arsenal has an estimated 3,800 warheads in active status. China is reportedly looking to increase its stockpile to 1,500 by 2035.
According to an assessment by the Pentagon as part of their 2019 annual report to Congress on China’s military power, Beijing has made significant investments in recent years toward increasing its nuclear arsenal, including spending $7 billion annually since 2013 on modernizing its missile systems and building up stockpiles of warheads. In addition, they have been producing more strategic delivery systems than previously thought, such as mobile launchers for multiple-warhead ballistic missiles, solid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, all of which could potentially be used for offensive strike capabilities against other countries around the world.
China has also recently developed a Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV) missile, which has the potential to assist them in circumventing current missile defense systems—a development US military officials have referred to as “potentially destabilizing” for the international system.
In addition to these technological advancements, a significant factor contributing to China’s rapid growth in its nuclear program is its overall economic stability. As one of the most powerful economies in the world today, they have been able to use these resources to finance sophisticated research projects and continually enhance their weapons’ capabilities—including expanding production facilities that can churn out dozens or even hundreds of additional warheads each year. This might explain why Chinese military analysts believe that their stockpile will double within five years if no action is taken by other nations involved in arms control negotiations (such as through moratorium agreements or treaty ratification processes).
Additionally, closer scientific research into monitoring activities surrounding Chinese nuclear sites should be conducted by experts from different countries to better understand what kind of activities are going on there so any further increases can be detected early before they become too dangerous or destabilizing for global security; this information should then be shared widely among all relevant parties internationally so everyone can work together towards a mutually agreed upon solution which would benefit all involved nations without leading to further escalations of tension or conflict over differing interests when it comes to maintaining a stable balance within our world today.
Finally, there are long-term implications beyond just an increase in available warhead numbers that could arise due to this exponential expansion—namely, a heightened risk of miscalculation and conflict between countries if they feel threatened by another nation’s capabilities or posture. This could potentially cause large-scale destruction due to escalating actions from both sides looking for retaliation against one another. For instance, if North Korea was suddenly faced with Chinese advancements, which would give it an edge over them militarily, then there may be some desire amongst North Korean authorities to respond accordingly without proper consideration for the consequences beforehand.
Ultimately, while China’s advancements present an undeniable threat to global stability, we must remember that these developments are taking place within a complex international context where both positive and negative effects may manifest depending on how each party chooses to respond going forward. Diplomatic talks between governments remain key here if we want any chance at avoiding further escalation and achieving meaningful progress towards peace through arms control agreements fleshed out with comprehensive verification mechanisms built into them (as outlined by scholars Keir Lieber & Daryl Press). Nonetheless, what remains clear is that every nation on earth should take note of this alarming trend and do whatever it can within its means to manage potential risks posed by increased Chinese power — before it’s too late.
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