The Chinese Communist Party is preparing to drastically expand the capability of its nuclear arsenal over the next decade, according to a Tuesday report from the U.S. Defense Department.
The revelation is part of the DoD’s annual report to Congress on the military capabilities of the People’s Republic of China, and it comes amid rising tensions between China, the U.S. and other nations over the CCP’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Defense officials say China’s military capability across the board, including nuclear, is expected to increase as the country further modernizes.
“Over the next decade, China’s nuclear warhead stockpile—currently estimated to be in the low- 200s—is projected to at least double in size as China expands and modernizes its nuclear forces,” the report says, going on to say the regime is also likely to diversify its nuclear arsenal to be deployed from land, sea or air.
The U.S. nuclear arsenal still far outmatches that of China, with more than 6,000 warheads and fully diversified methods of delivering the payloads.
China is also expanding its ballistic missile technology, which could allow far greater portions of its arsenal to threaten the U.S. Last week, china test fired two ballistic missiles into the hotly contested South China Sea in a threatening display to its Indo-Pacific neighbors. One of the missile types is known as the “aircraft carrier killer,” and would target U.S. carriers in the region in the event of a conflict. The more long distance missile, however, is known as the “Guam killer,” and could directly threaten U.S. soil.
“This military exercise is the latest in a long string of PRC actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbors in the South China Sea,” the DoD said in a statement. “The PRC’s actions, including missle tests, further destabilize the situation in the South China Sea.”
The U.S. also said China’s actions violated the 2002 Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei all have claims to sovereignty over parts of the area, but China argues it belongs to them almost entirely. (RELATED: Democratic Witness In House Coronavirus Hearing Pleaded Guilty In 2019 Sex Abuse Case)
The U.S. imposed restrictions on a number of Chinese state-owned companies last week, arguing China was using them to increase China’s influence in the area.
“Since 2013, [China] has used its state-owned enterprises to dredge and reclaim more than 3,000 acres on disputed features in the South China Sea, destabilizing the region, trampling on the sovereign rights of its neighbors, and causing untold environmental devastation,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.