China is growing its military, seeking to become an even greater superpower after already building the world's biggest navy and now pursuing a massive nuclear expansion.
In a new report to Congress, the Defense Department warns of China's growing nuclear and naval power.
The report notes China is expected to double its number of nuclear warheads over the next 10 years. It's estimated the communist nation has at least 200 warheads right now.
“China's nuclear forces will significantly evolve over the next decade as it modernizes, diversifies, and increases the number of its land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery platforms,” the report said. “Over the next decade, China's nuclear warhead stockpile - currently estimated to be in the low 200s - is projected to at least double in size as China expands and modernizes its nuclear forces.”
The report says China also has the world's largest navy with a battle force of around 350 ships and submarines, compared to the US battle force of just over 290.
The US Navy does have crucial advantages over the Chinese, including more aircraft carriers and a network of about 80 naval bases around the world.
The Trump administration is already pursuing a Pentagon plan to replace major nuclear elements - including submarines, long-range bombers and land-based missiles. The ongoing project is unfolding over the next 30 years at a cost projected to top $1 trillion
“As Communist China moves to at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile, modernizing our nuclear force and maintaining readiness is essential to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper wrote on Twitter.
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