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[News] The Pentagon reveals its estimates of the size of China's nuclear arsenal


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The Pentagon said - in a report published on Tuesday - that the size of the Chinese nuclear arsenal will increase by more than 3 times by the year 2035, to reach 1,500 nuclear warheads, stressing that Beijing continues to enhance the capabilities of its air force.

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Washington considers Beijing its biggest military challenge, and the annual report on the Chinese army indicates progress for the Chinese forces on the nuclear and conventional levels.

"The Ministry of Defense considers that the (Chinese) stockpile of nuclear warheads has exceeded 400," the report said.

"If China continues to increase its nuclear stockpile at this pace, its stockpile will probably reach about 1,500 nuclear warheads" by 2035, he added.

However, this stockpile remains far less than the United States and Russia, which possess thousands of nuclear warheads.

Beijing - which is working to modernize its ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads - tested 135 missiles of this type in 2021, and the Pentagon report states that this number "exceeds what was launched in the rest of the world" if we exclude those launched in military conflicts.

The Pentagon report added that the Chinese Air Force is making great progress and is "quickly catching up with the Western Air Force."

A senior military official had indicated - before the issuance of this report - that the Chinese Air Force was seeking to "achieve rapid progress on all fronts", especially equipment, pilots and the rest of the elements.

The Pentagon report considered that China's practices "in the Indian and Pacific Ocean region are becoming increasingly coercive and aggressive," which is an expression used by the US administration to denote changing alliances in the Asia and Pacific region.

This applies especially to Taiwan, the island that China considers an integral part of its territory, knowing that Beijing has pledged to return it to its fold, even by force.

And last August, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited - at the time - Taiwan, in an incident that heightened tensions, and China responded to it by conducting military maneuvers that were the most extensive around Taiwan since the 1990s.

Since then, the tension has receded, but the military official indicated that the Chinese activities around Taiwan - even if they have receded - are still broader than before, and constitute a source of concern.




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