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US: China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal |  Current Asia |  DW

US: China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal | Current Asia | DW

The US Department of Defense estimates that China’s nuclear arsenal will nearly quadruple by 2035. A Pentagon report said that if the Chinese maintain the pace of their nuclear expansion, they could have an arsenal of about 1,500 warships (by 2035).

The nuclear superpowers, the United States and Russia, have significantly more nuclear weapons. However, the Defense Department in Washington is concerned. Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder warned that China’s nuclear buildup could lead to instability. “There’s too much proliferation, and that’s very worrisome, and that’s very destabilizing for the region.”

The Pentagon report says China is also modernizing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. Last year, about 135 ballistic missiles were test-launched in the People’s Republic – “more than anywhere else in the world”. Leadership in Beijing is also making rapid progress in modernizing its air force and moving closer to the West, the Pentagon writes.

“China – The Biggest Geopolitical Challenge”

US President Joe Biden’s government sees an economically and militarily rising China as the world’s biggest geopolitical challenge. Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for talks ahead of the G20 summit in Bali two weeks ago. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two since Biden was elected president of the United States two years ago. A central conflict issue is China’s dealings with democratic Taiwan. Beijing claims the island republic as its own and has repeatedly threatened violent intervention.

se/fw (afp, dpa, ap)