Chinese nuclear arsenal will match U.S. by 2035, Pentagon warns

The buildup comes as top defense officials warn Beijing is preparing for an eventual military takeover of Taiwan.

Updated: November 29, 2022 - 5:00pm

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The People's Republic of China is on pace to achieve nuclear parity with the United States by 2035 as it undertakes a massive military buildup amid rising tensions with the West.

The U.S. has roughly 1,500 deployed nuclear warheads, and China is on pace to match that figure in just 13 years, the Washington Times reported. China's current arsenal includes more than 400 warheads, up from just 200 in 2020.

"The PRC is investing in and expanding the number of its land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery platforms and constructing the infrastructure necessary to support this major expansion of its nuclear forces," the report reads. "If China continues the pace of its nuclear expansion, it will likely field a stockpile of about 1,500 warheads by its 2035 timeline."

The buildup comes as top defense officials warn that Beijing is preparing for an eventual military takeover of Taiwan. Both the People's Republic of China and the Taiwan-based Republic of China (ROC) formally acknowledge the existence of a single, unified China through the "One China Principle," but both claim to be the legitimate government.

The island became the last bastion of the ROC in 1949 when nationalist forces under Chiang Kai-Shek evacuated the mainland after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong's communist faction.

The buildup is also concurrent with the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Experts have warned that Washington's continued aid to Kyiv in that conflict has depleted American military resources and compromised its ability to defend Taiwan in the event Beijing launches a similar incursion.