US says China could stockpile 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035

US Defense Department has said China aims to expand its nuclear forces, saying it could reach 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035.

The Chinese army plans to complete the modernization of its national defense and armed forces by that year and puts investment in the number of its land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery platforms, according to a report published Tuesday.

"If China continues the pace of its nuclear expansion, it will likely field a stockpile of about 1500 warheads by its 2035 timeline," said the Department in the report.

The report said China "probably" accelerated its nuclear expansion in 2021 and added that it estimates Beijing's operational nuclear warheads stockpile has surpassed 400.

In October, Pentagon released a new defense strategy, emphasizing increasingly dire challenges posed by China and the ongoing "acute threats" from Russia, noting US forces are facing mounting tests.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pointed to China as the US premier competitor, saying its increasing military strength poses long-term challenges for Washington.

Beijing "remains our most consequential strategic competitor for the coming decades," said Austin​​​​​​​ at the time.

Source: AA

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