Beijing could almost quadruple the number of its nuclear warheads by 2035. That is the assessment of the US Department of Defense. This is causing skepticism in Washington.

US Department of Defense Pentagon

The Pentagon announces the number of its own nuclear warheads and views China’s expansion with concern.

(Photo: dpa)

Washington According to estimates by the US armed forces, China is significantly accelerating the expansion of its nuclear arsenal. According to the Defense Department’s annual report to the US Congress on China, released on Tuesday, Beijing could “probably” have an arsenal of around 1,500 warheads in 12 years.

According to the report, the Pentagon estimates that China’s current inventory is around 400 operational nuclear warheads. Last year, the Pentagon said the number of Chinese nuclear warheads could increase to at least 1,000 by 2030. The US government announced at the time that it had 3,750 nuclear warheads in stock as of September 2020. The US has dismantled 11,683 nuclear warheads since 1994.

The more weapons of mass destruction there are, the more worrying it is, said US Department of Defense spokesman Pat Ryder on the report. “As such, from a regional and global stability perspective, we want to ensure that we can have an open dialogue to ensure transparency and understand what the intentions are.”

More: Why it’s too early to tick off the China risk

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