November 4, 2021 - China is modernizing its nuclear-capable missile inventory, transitioning from liquid-fueled to solid-fueled road-mobile, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and cruise missiles.
According to a U.S Department of Defense report, China plans to quadruple its nuclear weapons stockpile by 2030 -- a shift in Beijing policy with significant implications for the balance of military power.
The DoD said China could have 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027 and boost its stockpile -- currently estimated in the low 200s -- to at least 1,000 warheads by the end of the decade. According to the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, those figures would still leave the U.S. far ahead with a current count of 3,750 warheads.
Pentagon officials also cited China’s construction of at least four silo fields, saying they will contain “hundreds” of new intercontinental ballistic missiles ICBMs).
Beijing has dismissed the assessment, accusing Washington of over-hyping the threat posed by the People’s Liberation Army’s modernization programme. “We will never use nuclear weapon in any circumstances and have committed to not use nuclear weapons,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday.
Chinese officials have previously said their nuclear buildup is purely for defence and pointed to their public commitment to a “no first use” of nuclear weapons policy.