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Pentagon report warns of China’s plans for Taiwan, nuclear buildup



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China conducted more ballistic missile tests last year than the rest of the world combined and is on track to possess 1,500 nuclear weapons over the next decade, the Pentagon warned in a review. about Beijing’s rapidly expanding military posture.

Findings detailed in a report to Congress publicly released in unclassified format on Tuesday. It outlines China’s broad desires to pursue global domination but perhaps the Chinese Communist Party must face. the most serious internal challenge to its administration in decades, with bold protests against President Xi Jinping’s harsh coronavirus lockdowns including, in a city ​​number, demand his overthrow.

Pentagon officials, in detailing the report, were careful not to make any connection between the protests — which overnight led to a police crackdown — and China’s military plans. But at the very least, the uprising complicates Xi Jinping as he tries to exercise power over other reluctant actors in the region, including in Taiwan, where Chinese officials Ky is still staying. doubts that he can achieve his uncontrollable goal of domination.

Xi’s upcoming third term in China raises the risk of war for Taiwan

Much pointed out that 2027 — the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army and the target date Xi Jinping has set for modernizing its military capabilities — is a time when Taiwan needs to worry. about being attacked. Speaking to the press, Pentagon spokesman Brig. General Patrick Ryder was more deliberate.

“As the report states, we do not believe an invasion is imminent,” Ryder said.

A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity under terms set out by the Pentagon, went further, describing the standards China hopes to achieve by 2027 as “ambitious,” while implying that the Defense Ministry is skeptical of Beijing’s ability to achieve its goals. within that time frame.

“We know what they want to achieve, which is actually having a more credible military capability for the Taiwan scenario,” the official said. “In terms of what they can actually achieve in 2027, I think that remains to be seen.”

Instead, the Pentagon argues that China is trying to establish a “new normal” when it comes to Taiwan, with more missile launches, more naval activities and more “intersections”. center” over the Taiwan Strait of Chinese military aircraft. Those activities dramatic enhancementThe official said after a visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this year and “not down to the level we’re used to.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he was committed to maintaining the “status quo” around Taiwan’s status, warning his Chinese counterpart last week about taking “destabilizing” actions. The United States has criticized China’s threat model against US ships and those of its allies in the South China Sea, calling close encounters “unsafe and unprofessional” and warning that they can lead to catastrophic accidents. Austin and others have told their Chinese counterparts that if the measures are designed to prevent Western powers from exercising their freedom of navigation, they will not work.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pentagon calls for Chinese military threats as Taiwan tensions worsen

The Pentagon report highlights Washington’s alarm over Beijing’s missile tests and the geopolitical impact of its expanding nuclear arsenal.

“The more nuclear weapons proliferation is, the more worrisome it is – the more deeply destabilizing it is to the region,” Ryder told reporters.

But China’s stockpiles – the world’s third largest – are also beginning to pose a global challenge. It has more than 400 nuclear weapons, report note, and the 135 ballistic missile tests the country conducts in 2021 “more than the rest of the world combined”. Those numbers shed more light on what is publicly known about Beijing’s nuclear development program, a topic that has long been closely watched as other studies have detailed the construction of tunnels. missile storage and other infrastructure to support its operations. expansion.

The report criticized suggestions that China was not seeking to use its nuclear energy production infrastructure to produce the fissile material for such weapons as false. “Despite the Chinese public’s support for the fissile material reduction treaty, we assess that Beijing intends to use this infrastructure to produce nuclear warhead material for the military. in the near future,” the report said.

The Pentagon also expressed deep concern about China in the area of ​​nuclear non-proliferation. Beijing has a no-first strike policy, but has long insisted that if the United States wants to negotiate arms control, it must first agree to the concept of nuclear parity among the leading nations. China’s nuclear arsenal is still much smaller than that of the US with about 5,500 nuclear warheads or Russia with nearly 6,000 warheads. based on Federation of American Scientists.

But China’s advances — and plans to increase production of everything from supersonic to tactical nuclear weapons – bring up the communist regime a platform on which the Pentagon thinks its leaders need to sit at the arms control negotiating table now. Its reluctant to do soIt is “negatively impacting global strategic stability — an area of ​​growing global concern,” the report said.

“I don’t see any clear indication that they are looking for some kind of pre-emptive attack capability here, but they are certainly developing a set of capabilities that will give them a wide range of options. chosen to send a deterrent signal,” the senior defense official said. That possibility “raises some questions about their intentions in the long-term,” the official added.

Further threatening the global balance, The Pentagon said whether the relationships China is pursuing fall outside its direct geographic sphere of influence to expand its more conventional military footprint. The report notes how China and Russia, for example, continue to hold joint exercises. As cooperation — even if China does not provide Russia with military supplies for their Ukraine war effort — demonstrating that Beijing “still seems to see a lot of value in their partnership,” according to the defense official.

The report provides a list of countries where the Pentagon thinks China is “potentially considering” establishing military logistics facilities “to support the deployment of naval, air, and ground forces.” , in a style similar to that of the Chinese military. support base in Djiboutilocated just a few miles from a US base, Camp Lemonnier.

Those countries include: CambodiaMyanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, PakistanSri Lanka, the United Arab EmiratesKenya, Equatorial GuineaSeychelles, Tanzania, Angola and tajikistan, the report said. The senior defense official warned that the list should be seen as an indication of areas where China is “trying to make progress” rather than a warning that a second base is the same. like the base in Djibouti is about to be built.

Beijing has taken more concrete moves to establish bases near neighboring countries, potentially as a means of exerting influence over disputed territory. The Center for Strategic and International Studies this week published satellite images revealed what appears to have completed the construction of a military outpost along China’s border with India, near an area claimed by both countries. The development was first reported on Tuesday by Politico.

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