China is Expected to Have 1,500 Nuclear Warheads by 2035
On November 29, 2022, the Pentagon published a report asserting that China may have roughly 1,500 nuclear warheads if it continues to build nuclear stockpiles at the current rate.
Since Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China has ramped up military activity in preparation for a protracted Cold War with the United States. The US is currently making a pivot to Asia where it will try to contain China both economically and militarily.
According to One America News, China is estimated to have over 400 warheads. Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said the following:
“The challenge here is the more proliferation there is, the more concerning it is, the more destabilizing to the region it is. So certainly, we would want to ensure that from a regional, global, and regional stability standpoint that we can maintain an open dialogue to ensure there’s transparency and that we understand what the intent is behind this.”
According to figures from the Federation of American Scientists, China has 350 nuclear warheads, making it the country with the third largest nuclear stockpile on the planet. Only Russia (5,977) and the United States (5,428) have larger nuclear arsenals.
The US must tread lightly here. An America First agenda would deal with China firmly on immigration and trade matters, but would eschew escalatory military actions against it. China is after all a nuclear power that will use these weapons if it feels that its territorial integrity is threatened by the US and other external actors.
Those are the stakes here. Hopefully, DC understands this and pursues more level-headed nationalist policies that address otherwise legitimate concerns with China.