China Has 500 Operational Nuclear Warheads: Pentagon

China now has more than 500 nuclear warheads and is likely enhancing its capability to directly strike the continental United States, according to a new Pentagon report.

The estimate, provided in the Pentagon’s annual China Military Power Report, means that China has achieved a key milestone in its nuclear expansion and modernization two years earlier than previously anticipated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

“DoD estimates that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] possessed more than 500 operational nuclear warheads as of May 2023—on track to exceed previous projections,” the report states. “DoD estimates that the PRC will probably have over 1,000 operational nuclear warheads by 2030.”

The report also underscores that the regime is likely investing in better conventional missile technologies to allow it to directly strike the continental United States.

“The PRC may be exploring development of conventionally armed intercontinental-range missile systems that would allow the PRC to threaten conventional strikes against targets in the continental United States,” it states.

China Seeks Capability to Defeat US in War

A previous China Military Power Report published in 2021 found that China could obtain 1,000 warheads by 2030. The 2020 report, meanwhile, claimed that China was likely to only obtain about 200 nuclear missiles by 2025.

The rapid nuclear expansion and modernization comes as an increasing number of analysts and experts claim that Beijing is developing its nuclear forces with the explicit purpose of directly threatening the United States.

Congress confirmed last year that the regime actually has more intercontinental ballistic missile launchers than the United States possesses.

The Chinese regime refuses to engage in nuclear nonproliferation and strategic stability talks, despite previous promises that it would cooperate with the United States on the issues.

Relatedly, in 2021, Gen. John Hyten, then-vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that China’s hypersonic missile tests appeared to be aimed at developing a capability to initiate a nuclear first strike against the United States.

“They launched a long-range missile,” Gen. Hyten said. “It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, then impacted a target in China.

“They look like a first-use weapon … to me.”

An associated statement from the Pentagon issued on Oct. 19 said the proliferation is part of China’s “continuing efforts to overturn the international rules-based order.”

The Biden administration has said that it seeks nonproliferation talks with China “without preconditions.”

Such talks, the administration maintains, are necessary to prevent a new nuclear arms race and limit the possibility of catastrophic miscommunication between militaries.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.