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China’s Nuclear Arsenal Buildup: U.S. Pentagon Report

The U.S. Pentagon has released a report on China’s military power, indicating that China is expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal at a faster rate than previously estimated. This report also suggests that China may be drawing lessons from Russia’s conflict in Ukraine for potential scenarios related to Taiwan. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

Accelerated Nuclear Arsenal Growth

  • The Pentagon report highlights that China’s nuclear force is growing at an accelerated pace.
  • Last year, it was predicted that China could nearly quadruple its number of nuclear warheads to 1,500 by 2035.
  • The 2023 report suggests that China is on track to have over 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030.
  • China’s aim is to modernize its military to become “world-class” by 2049.

No First Use Policy

  • While China maintains a “no first use” policy for nuclear weapons, the U.S. does not adhere to such a policy.
  • The Pentagon has not observed any shift in China’s stance but notes that there might be exceptions in certain circumstances.

Military Pressure on Taiwan

  • China has been exerting military, diplomatic, and economic pressure on Taiwan.
  • This includes ballistic missile overflights, increased warplane incursions into Taiwan’s defense zone, and large-scale military exercises encircling Taiwan.
  • China has declared its intent to bring Taiwan under its control, even by force if necessary.

U.S. Support for Taiwan

  • The U.S. has provided substantial military assistance to Taiwan to bolster its defenses against potential aggression.

China’s Defense Budget

  • China’s military spending in 2023 reportedly increased by 7.2% to $216 billion USD, exceeding its economic growth.
  • Some sources suggest that the actual spending could be higher.
  • China maintains that its military policy is defensive.

Regional Tensions and U.S. Activities

  • China has been increasingly assertive in the region, intercepting U.S. military flights and conducting military exercises.
  • The report highlights over 180 instances where Chinese aircraft aggressively intercepted U.S. military flights.

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