Chinese Nuclear Forces to Grow, Report Says

Article excerpt

REINFORCING RECENT INTELLIGENCE reports on China's strategic weapons development, the Pentagon released a report July 19 indicating that China is upgrading its nuclear forces and will increase the number of ICBMs that could be targeted at the United States.

Mandated by Congress in the 2000 National Defense Authorization Act, the Annual Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic of China notes that China's strategic weapons modernization "is improving its force, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in all classes of missiles."

According to the report, China's nuclear arsenal development could significantly bolster the number of Chinese ICBMs deployed by the end of the decade. Currently possessing around 20 ICBMs that could target the United States, China might have as many as 60 such ICBMs by 2010, the paper says. The Pentagon report is consistent with projections from other parts of the intelligence community.

In addition, China might enhance its nuclear deterrent by equipping some of its CSS-4 Mod 1 missiles, liquid-fueled ICBMs capable of hitting the mainland United States, with multiple warheads. …