US-China relations

FAST FACTS: What is most significant in the Pentagon’s China military report?

Reuters

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FAST FACTS: What is most significant in the Pentagon’s China military report?

MILITARY POWER. File photo shows military vehicles carrying DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles travel past Tiananmen Square during the military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China, on its National Day in Beijing, China, on October 1, 2019.

Jason Lee/File Photo/REUTERS

The report says China may be exploring developing conventionally armed intercontinental-range missile systems, which, if developed, could allow Beijing to threaten the United States

WASHINGTON DC, USA – The Pentagon this week released its annual report on China’s military, which touches on wide-ranging issues related to some of the most important developments in China’s national security over the past year.

Here are some key highlights.

Nuclear weapons

China has more than 500 operational nuclear warheads in its arsenal and will probably have over 1,000 warheads by 2030, the report said.

In a previous report, the Pentagon estimated that Beijing had more than 400 operational nuclear warheads in 2021.

Missiles

The report said China probably completed the construction of its three new silo fields in 2022, which has at least 300 new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos.

The report said China may be exploring developing conventionally armed intercontinental-range missile systems, which, if developed, could allow Beijing to threaten the United States.

Overseas basing

China has been expanding its global military footprint, though it is still much smaller than the United States’ network of bases.

The report says China has also probably considered having military logistics facilities in countries like Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tajikistan.

Ships

China already has the world’s largest navy – and it is growing further the report said.

China’s navy had more than 370 ships and submarines, up from the 340 ships they had in last year’s report.

The expectation, the report added, is for the number to increase to 395 ships by 2025 and 435 ships by 2030.

US assistance

While the report said China has generally ignored or denied the United States’ efforts to have military-to-military talks, it described an occasion when Beijing required US assistance.

In April 2023, the Chinese military requested US assistance in evacuating Chinese diplomats from Khartoum, Sudan.

The US military, the report said, provided evacuation routes.

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