The Pentagon has released the report it prepares every year to give an overview of the U.S. defense situation and, undoubtedly, what attracted the most attention was the state of alert caused by the new figures that the Pentagon forecasts for China’s arsenal in the coming years.
The equipment of the Asian colossus was much higher than expected a year ago. The new estimate indicates that Beijing could get 700 nuclear weapons warheads by 2027 and around 1,000 by the end of the decade.
Although these stockpiles are ostensibly lower than those of the United States (it currently has 3750 warheads), it is a significant change in the Americans’ projection, as in past reports the Pentagon thought China would have 400 by 2030. It also opens speculation as to whether the new approaches will be accurate or if they may again be outdated.
China, seeking to modernize and diversify its “nuclear forces.”
Washington’s long-standing position has been to join China and Russia in a new arms control treaty, but Beijing and Moscow have not yet given any indication of seeking to join in the near future. The Asians want the U.S. to shrink its arsenal to the same proportion.
The Pentagon document states that “over the next decade” China maintains the objective of “modernizing, diversifying and expanding its nuclear forces”. In addition, it details that China began building three intercontinental ballistic missile silo fields.
In the same report, the Pentagon also reaffirms its concern about China’s advance in other fields, beyond the military, referring to chemical, biological and technological programs, as well as in space and cyberspace.
Taiwan, another warning light regarding China.
Beijing’s strained stance with Taipei has escalated over the weeks with even incursions by Chinese military aircraft close to the island’s airspace. The situation has raised alarms and speculation about an eventual invasion of a territory that China considers its own.
The tension has also involved the United States. A few days ago, the presence of U.S. military personnel in Taiwan was confirmed with the aim of training local troops in the event of a military conflict against the Asian mega-power.
However, the Pentagon report noted that China is likely to use other methods to weaken Taiwan, such as a blockade campaign, before developing a full-scale military advance.
The U.S. Defense Department doubts China will use drastic measures or force, at least, in the next two years. “Based on my analysis, I don’t think it’s likely in the near future,” said Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.