Pentagon estimates China could have 1,500 Nukes by 2035 12/12/2022 | Fabio Di Felice

In accordance with the last estimates published by the Pentagon, Beijing could have some 1,500 nuclear weapons by 2035, ramping up its nuclear stockpile to more than triple its current one of about 400 warheads. US Department of Defense released this information through its annual report on the "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China," commonly known as the China Military Power Report (CMPR). This Congressionally-mandated report serves as an authoritative assessment of the Defense Department's pacing challenge and charts the current course of the PRC's military and security strategy. This year's report follows the Defense Department's release of its unclassified National Defense Strategy in October, which identified the PRC as the most consequential and systemic challenge to US national security and a free and open international system. The report covers the contours of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) way of war, surveys its current activities and capabilities and assesses the PLA's future military modernization goals. Despite the fact China has not publicly changed its “no first use” policy for nuclear weapons, maintaining a minimal nuclear arsenal just for defensive purposes, the Pentagon is growing increasingly concerned that China’s growing nuclear weapons stockpile could signal a future shift in China’s nuclear policies. In details, the Pentagon estimated that China would have 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027, and 1,000 warheads by 2030. By the way, even if these estimates may be confirmed, in 2035, China’s nuclear stockpiles will likely be significantly smaller than those possessed by Russia and the United States. In 2022, the US had about 3,700 warheads in its deployed or reserve stockpiles, while Russia had about 4,500, according to the Federation of American Scientists. The projection of increase in warheads is also accompanied by China revealed that it had fielded a nuclear triad with the H-6N, its first nuclear-capable bomber capable of being air-refueled, added to the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarines. The PLA is also involved in developing and improving its new operation concept known as Multidomain Precision Warfare (MPW), a “system of systems” focused on improving a resilient Command-and-Control structure and inserting Artificial Intelligence and data analytics. The MPW is different from similar western operating concepts, indeed it dangerously revolves around using AI to unravel an enemy’s weak points, and then to launch precision strikes against those vulnerabilities, kinetic or non-kinetic, to cause its collapse.

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