China’s nuclear arsenal is growing. What does that mean for US-China relations?

China’s nuclear arsenal is growing. What does that mean for US-China relations?

The new Pentagon report reveals China’s worries about US missile defenses. While any potential changes in Beijing’s nuclear strategy are unclear, three questions stand out regarding how Beijing might seek to use silo-based missiles to deter the United States, writes Fiona Cunningham and Taylor Fravel here for the Washington Post's Monkey Cage.

November 11, 2021 | Washington Post, Monkey Cage | Fiona Cunningham, Taylor Fravel
This July 25, 2021, satellite image provided by Planet Labs shows what analysts believe is construction on an intercontinental ballistic missile silo near Hami, China. (Planet Labs Inc./AP)
Fiona Cunningham, Taylor Fravel
November 11, 2021
Washington Post

The Defense Department’s annual report on China’s military power assessed that its nuclear arsenal could quadruple by 2030. Last week’s report also confirmed that China is building three missile-silo fields, which analysts expect to account for a significant increase in the projected warhead stockpile.

China is modernizing, diversifying and expanding its nuclear forces. As James Cameron recently explained here at TMC, over the summer China also reportedly tested an orbital bombardment system with a hypersonic glider vehicle.

Why are these developments happening now, and what do they mean for US-China relations?

Read the full article here

Fiona Cunningham (@Fiona_Cunning) is assistant professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and a nonresident scholar in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

M. Taylor Fravel (@fravel) is Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.