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'Full of prejudice': China says Pentagon's nuclear report disregards facts

The Pentagon estimated in its Wednesday report that China will have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030

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(Photo: Reuters)

dismissed the U.S Department of Defense’s assessment that its nuclear weapons capabilities are expanding at an accelerated rate, amid growing alarm in Washington at the increasing scope of Beijing’s military power.

“This report by the DoD, as with previous reports, is full of prejudice with a disregard of the facts,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday.

The Pentagon estimated in its Wednesday report that will have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030 -- including 700 “deliverable” ones by 2027 that could be mounted immediately on various missiles -- exceeding previous Department of Defense projections. Those figures would still leave the U.S. far ahead with a current count of 3,750 warheads.

The new figures appeared to be based on evaluations of China’s production capacity. Pentagon officials also cited China’s construction of at least three silo fields, saying they will contain “hundreds” of new intercontinental ballistic missiles.

has repeatedly accused the U.S. of over-hyping the threat posed by the People’s Liberation Army’s modernization program. “We will never use nuclear weapon in any circumstances and have committed to not use nuclear weapons,” Wang reiterated on Thursday.

Chinese officials have previously said their nuclear buildup is purely defensive and pointed to their public commitment to a “no first use” of nuclear weapons policy. The U.S., by contrast, has stopped short of such a pledge.

Still, China’s leaders have called on the country to speed up its drive to create a world-class military. In remarks to a military conference last week, President Xi Jinping called for China to “break new ground” in weapons development, adding that the nation must create a “new situation” to support the production of weaponry and military equipment.

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First Published: Thu, November 04 2021. 15:51 IST