According to estimates by the US armed forces, China is significantly accelerating the expansion of its nuclear arsenal and could almost quadruple the number of its nuclear warheads by 2035.
Beijing could "probably" have an arsenal of around 1,500 warheads by 2035, according to the Defense Department's published annual report to the US Congress on China. 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. At the time, the US government announced 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. "So from a regional and global stability perspective, we want to make sure we can have an open dialogue to ensure transparency and understand what the intentions are."