China Has 500 Operational Nuclear Warheads: Pentagon

Communist China now has more than 500 operational nuclear warheads, the Pentagon has said, reaching the ominous benchmark two years ahead of previous estimates.China now has more than 500 nuclear warheads and is likely enhancing its capability to directly strike the continental United States, according to a new Pentagon report.The estimate, provided in the Pentagon’s annual China Military Power Report, means that China has achieved a key milestone in its nuclear expansion and modernization two years earlier than previously anticipated by the Pentagon.“DoD [Department of Defense] estimates that the PRC [People's Republic of China] possessed more than 500 operational nuclear warheads as of May 2023—on track to exceed previous projections,” the report said. “DoD estimates that the PRC will probably have over 1,000 operational nuclear warheads by 2030.”Related StoriesThe report also underscored that the regime is likely investing in better conventional missile technologies to allow it to directly strike the continental United States.“The PRC may be exploring development of conventionally-armed intercontinental range missile systems that would allow the PRC to threaten conventional strikes against targets in the continental United States,” the report said. China Seeks Capability to Defeat US in War A previous China Power Report published in 2021 found that China could obtain 1,000 warheads by 2030. The 2020 report, meanwhile, claimed that China was likely to only obtain around 200 nuclear missiles by 2025.China’s rapid nuclear expansion and modernization comes as an increasing number of analysts and experts claim that the regime is developing its nuclear forces with the explicit purpose of directly threatening the United States.To that end, Congress confirmed last year that the regime actually has more intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers than the United States does. Meanwhile, the regime refuses to engage in nuclear nonproliferation and strategic stability talks, despite previous promises that it would cooperate with the United States on the issues.Relatedly, in 2021, Gen. John Hyten, then-vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that China’s hypersonic missile tests appeared to be aimed at developing a capability to initiate a nuclear first strike against the United States.“They launched a long-range missile,” Gen. Hyten said. “It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted a target in China.”“They look like a first-use weapon. That’s what those weapons look like to me.”An associated statement from the Pentagon issued on Oct. 19 said that the proliferation was part of China’s “continuing efforts to overturn the international rules-based order.”For its part, the Biden administration has said that it seeks nonproliferations talks with China "without preconditions."Such talks, the administration maintains, are necessary to prevent a new nuclear arms race and limit the possibility of catastrophic miscommunication between militaries.

China Has 500 Operational Nuclear Warheads: Pentagon

Communist China now has more than 500 operational nuclear warheads, the Pentagon has said, reaching the ominous benchmark two years ahead of previous estimates.

China now has more than 500 nuclear warheads and is likely enhancing its capability to directly strike the continental United States, according to a new Pentagon report.

The estimate, provided in the Pentagon’s annual China Military Power Report, means that China has achieved a key milestone in its nuclear expansion and modernization two years earlier than previously anticipated by the Pentagon.

“DoD [Department of Defense] estimates that the PRC [People's Republic of China] possessed more than 500 operational nuclear warheads as of May 2023—on track to exceed previous projections,” the report said. “DoD estimates that the PRC will probably have over 1,000 operational nuclear warheads by 2030.”

The report also underscored that the regime is likely investing in better conventional missile technologies to allow it to directly strike the continental United States.

“The PRC may be exploring development of conventionally-armed intercontinental range missile systems that would allow the PRC to threaten conventional strikes against targets in the continental United States,” the report said.

China Seeks Capability to Defeat US in War

A previous China Power Report published in 2021 found that China could obtain 1,000 warheads by 2030. The 2020 report, meanwhile, claimed that China was likely to only obtain around 200 nuclear missiles by 2025.

China’s rapid nuclear expansion and modernization comes as an increasing number of analysts and experts claim that the regime is developing its nuclear forces with the explicit purpose of directly threatening the United States.

To that end, Congress confirmed last year that the regime actually has more intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers than the United States does. Meanwhile, the regime refuses to engage in nuclear nonproliferation and strategic stability talks, despite previous promises that it would cooperate with the United States on the issues.

Relatedly, in 2021, Gen. John Hyten, then-vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that China’s hypersonic missile tests appeared to be aimed at developing a capability to initiate a nuclear first strike against the United States.

“They launched a long-range missile,” Gen. Hyten said. “It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted a target in China.”

“They look like a first-use weapon. That’s what those weapons look like to me.”

An associated statement from the Pentagon issued on Oct. 19 said that the proliferation was part of China’s “continuing efforts to overturn the international rules-based order.”

For its part, the Biden administration has said that it seeks nonproliferations talks with China "without preconditions."

Such talks, the administration maintains, are necessary to prevent a new nuclear arms race and limit the possibility of catastrophic miscommunication between militaries.