#US concerned about the #Chinese Nuclear expansion

People’s Liberation Army has tested a space-based nuclear delivery system in October, hinting that it is working on more weapons to counter the United States’ limited-capacity missile defence systems.
Historically, China always maintained that it keeps a significantly smaller nuclear arsenal than Russia or the US. China calls it ‘minimum deterrence’ meaning it has just enough nuclear to ensure Beijing’s retaliatory attack.
Also, Beijing’s No First Use policy professes that nuclear weapons would only be used in response to an enemy’s nuclear first strike, reported the US-based think tank.
So is the current dramatic expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal a pretence?

Taken together two reports published in late 2021 offer a measured perspective on changes to China’s nuclear forces — Military and Security Developments Involving
the People’s Republic of China released by the Department of Defense; and Chinese Nuclear Forces 2021 by Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen, said the think tank.

Now, the question arises that how many nuclear weapons does China possess, and how many does it want?
According to the Defense Department, China is estimated to have “low 200s” nuclear warheads in 2020, a total anticipated to be doubled, while the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists put the figure at 350.
However, according to the Defense Department’s projection for 2021, a new normal has emerged.

“The accelerating pace of the People’s Republic of China ‘s (PRC) nuclear expansion may enable the PRC to have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027,” the report states.
“The PRC likely intends to have at least 1,000 warheads by 2030, exceeding the pace and size the DoD projected in 2020.”, the think tank said.
The United States, for example, has 1,550 nuclear bombs on active duty and many more in reserve. Meanwhile, the inventory of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is estimated to be in the low hundreds.
Is Beijing now more likely to employ nuclear weapons as a form of coercion, including more “usable” tactical nuclear weapons with lower yields?
Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, published by the Department of Defense, and Chinese Nuclear Forces 2021, by Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen, published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, are two reports
worth reading about China’s nuclear doctrine and capabilities. Despite their differences in epistemological orientations, the assessments as a whole provide a balanced view of China’s nuclear forces.

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