US report explains China's increasing nuclear stockpile and global geopolitical ambitions
Pentagon takes stock
As reported by AFP, the Chinese military is pressing to double its 200-plus nuclear warheads within a decade with the ability to launch them aboard ballistic missiles by land, sea and air, the Pentagon said in China Military Power Report. And in its first public estimate of China's nuclear capacity, the annual report said the country has warheads numbering "in the low 200s" in its nuclear stockpile, fewer than the 300 or more estimated by independent analysts.
The report noted that China already has the world's largest navy, with 350 ships and submarines, compared to 293 for the US Navy. The Pentagon has highlighted that deficit as it seeks to expand its fleet to 355 vessels. The report also highlights China's advantage, unrestricted by arms agreements that the US and Russia have, in ground-launched ballistic missiles. However, the United States leads in submarine-launched and air-launched ballistic missiles; China is still working to develop the latter.
The report also described China as determined to project its power eastward into the Pacific beyond Taiwan, and to pressure the United States out of the region. The report said that as China seeks to bring Washington-ally Taiwan under its control, Beijing is seeking the ability to win a possible war with the US over the island.
In addition to the three neighbours of India -- Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar -- the other countries where China is considering to base its military logistics and infrastructure facilities are Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola and Tajikistan, said the report. The Pentagon said these potential Chinese military logistics facilities are in addition to the Chinese military base in Djibouti, which is aimed at supporting naval, air and ground forces projection.
Taking on the US
Beijing uses the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative to support its strategy of national rejuvenation by seeking to expand global transportation and trade linkages to support its development and deepen its economic integration with nations along its periphery and beyond. According to the Pentagon, a global PLA military logistics network could both interfere with the US military operations and support offensive operations against the United States as the Chinese global military objectives evolve.