China’s nuclear stockpile to double over next decade

The Pentagon estimates that China’s nuclear stockpile will have grown at a “accelerating pace” over the next 10 years. According to a Pentagon report released Wednesday, China will have up to 1,000 nuclear warheads in 2030, up from 500 now. Officials noted that there’s not sufficient evidence of how many of the additional warheads will be deployed in China’s system and how many will be left un-deployed.

The United States currently has approximately 4,000 nuclear warheads and the Trump administration has been negotiating a new nuclear weapons pact with Russia to replace an arrangement that expired last year. Officials said a plan to enter into the new agreement, known as the New START Treaty, had already taken a toll on the relationship between the two nuclear powers. In the report, the Pentagon said that the treaty “has undermined strategic trust.” Officials also said they have been worried that China has long sought to use its nuclear program to pose a “threat to the United States and NATO,” and fears that Washington may “re-engage in an arms race” with Beijing to increase its nuclear stockpiles.

Last year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that the United States and its allies could safeguard themselves against China’s nuclear threat by launching a new, more rapid-reaction force known as the so-called Rapid Capabilities Environment Response Force, or Rapid Cap. Last week, the White House said that Trump had met with his national security team to discuss how the U.S. and its allies would improve the survivability of their nuclear forces.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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