China Begins Worrying Stash of Nuclear Weapons

"U.S., Chinese navies participate in maneuver exercise together" by #PACOM is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Without a doubt, China has become a massive player in the world; this is a result of its military power, diplomatic valor, and trade connections. There is a new growing threat with their nuclear weapons that US senators have taken notice of.

“Chinese Navy Missile Frigate 548 Yiyang at Mayport” by AL904 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In a bipartisan letter sent earlier this week, three senior Republican senators urged President Biden to put a stop to China’s nuclear weapons growth; these GOP lawmakers warned that failing to do so may lead to nuclear parity between the two countries by 2030.

China placed much of its nuclear warheads on alert status. Charles Richard, commander of the US Strategic Command, declared before Congress that China’s nuclear stockpile is expected to grow in the next ten years.

How Many Nuclear Weapons Can they Field?

As per published reports (particularly data from the Department Of Defense), China’s nuclear arsenal force may exceed 1,000 warheads by 2030. Rogers and others also confirm this.

Furthermore, Beijing was implementing a full trinity of nuclear strike systems. These systems entail intercontinental ballistic missiles, bombers, and nuclear missile submarines, according to Director Avril Haines of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Haines shared this news when she gave her annual threat assessment to Congress in April.

China hasn’t even revealed the quantity of its nuclear arsenal; instead, China is emphasizing its atomic self-defense plan and objectives of never being the first to deploy nuclear weapons under any circumstances. According to the Federation of American Science, China has over 320 nuclear weapons.

Despite being a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) (which mandates nuclear-armed states to reach a deal on armaments reductions), Beijing failed to participate in bilateral nuclear disarmament talks with the US before Trump took office.

Biden was asked by the three legislators to design a comprehensive interagency plan for China; this plan regarding how to engage in serious bilateral or trilateral weapons control negotiations to assess whether China violated NPT Article 6.

The Numbers Aren’t Everything

It is really critical for American officials to comprehend the magnitude of the situation, whenever it relates to China’s nuclear weapons. Nuke risks between us and the Chinese differ from those between the USA and the Soviet Union in the past; this is including those between the USA and Russia presently.

Concerns about nuclear use between the United States and China derive, in part, from mutual mistrust and the manipulation of risk below the nuclear threshold; concerns also pertain to qualitative military posture and strategy choices made by each country. Quantitative criteria, such as the size of China’s nuclear stockpile, are less significant.

Regardless, a recent debate between Sen. Tom Cotton and the United States Indo-Pacific Command head demonstrates how the nature of thermonuclear risk with China is still misunderstood in Washington.

During a congressional hearing, Cotton expressed fear that China may achieve nuclear overmatch against the US, if the Chinese triple or quadruple their nuclear arsenal.