Source: : Jay Greenberg
China is stockpiling its nuclear weapons at an “accelerating pace” that is much faster than U.S. officials predicted just a year ago, the Pentagon has warned.
The rapid advance of the Chinese Communist Party’s nukes highlights a broad and accelerating buildup of military muscle designed to enable China to match or surpass U.S. global power by mid-century, according to a Pentagon report released Wednesday.
The report warns that Beijing’s nuclear warheads could increase to 700 within six years and put Communist China on track to top 1,000 by 2030.
The report did not say how many weapons China has today.
However, the Pentagon said just one year ago that the number was in the “low 200s” and was likely to double by the end of this decade.
By comparison, the United States has 3,750 nuclear weapons and has no plans to increase that number.
As recently as 2003 the U.S. total was about 10,000, according to the Associated Press.
The Biden administration is undertaking a comprehensive review of its nuclear policy and has not said how that might be influenced by its China concerns.
China is able to build up its nuclear stockpile by “increasing its capacity to produce and separate plutonium,” the report says.
The U.S. is currently treaty limited with Russia to deploy up no more than 1,550 nuclear warheads.
China is under no such restrictions because they don’t have any arms control treaties with any other country.
China “is building hundreds of new ICBM silos, and is on the cusp of a large silo-based ICBM force expansion comparable to those undertaken by other major powers,” the report warns.
Over the summer, U.S. intelligence detected the presence of the missile fields and civilian satellite radar discovered some of them.
The report says in 2020, China launched more than 250 ballistic missiles “exceeding its launch numbers for 2018 and 2019 despite COVID-19.”
A year ago in its last annual report to Congress, the Pentagon said China had amassed the biggest Navy in the world.
It has since improved according to the new annual report to Congress.
“In the near-term, the PLAN will have the capability to conduct long-range precision strikes against land targets from its submarine and surface combatants using land-attack cruise missiles, notably enhancing the PRC’s global power projection capabilities.”
The report measures the growth of China’s military in 2020 only, it does not account for China’s growth this year.
The report did not cover the recent hypersonic weapons test from space, which caught U.S. intelligence by surprise.
The newly released report did cover the following development in the field of hypersonic weapons—the first deployment of the advanced system that travels five times the speed of sound, but more importantly, according to experts, it does not travel in a predictable, ballistic trajectory.
“In 2020, the PLARF began to field its first operational hypersonic weapons system, the DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) capable medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM),” the report says.
The U.S. military’s top officer, Gen. Mark Milley called the recent test of a Chinese hypersonic a “very significant” test.
“We’re witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geostrategic power that the world has witnessed,” Milley warned NBC’s Lester Holt at the Aspen Security Forum Wednesday.
“If we, the United States military, don’t do a fundamental change to ourselves in the coming 10 to 15 to 20 years, then we’re going to be on the wrong side of a conflict.”
Milley later predicted a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is “not likely” in the next two years.
The Pentagon’s new China report has added a section on “Chemical and Biological research,” saying China has “engaged in biological activities with potential dual-use applications, which raise concerns regarding its compliance with the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).”
The report did not touch on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A senior defense official said the Pentagon is leaving that issue to the Director of National Intelligence.
Milley recently said China’s test of a hypersonic missile while orbiting the earth was very close to a “Sputnik moment.”
In an interview with Fox News, Elbridge A. Colby, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, said it’s not just China’s development of hypersonic weapons that is concerning; it’s Beijing’s overall military advancements including its nuclear forces.
“The Sputnik moment was kind of this idea that we finally woke up to something. There are plenty of Sputnik moments we have before us,” Colby said in an interview with Fox News and author of the new book The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict.
“It’s Sputnik on steroids.”
“There is a sense that we can’t be beaten and that’s just wrong,” Elbridge added.
“We can be beaten.”