Not since China’s detonation of its first atomic weapon in 1964 has the United States been so concerned with the country’s nuclear capabilities. Recent satellite images suggest China is constructing 100 new ICBM silos, and the Pentagon estimates that China could possess well over 1,000 nuclear warheads by the end of the decade. In addition, the successful test of a cutting-edge, nuclear-capable hypersonic missile last month has rattled the U.S. security community.
Why is China rapidly bulking up its nuclear arsenal, and why now? What does this spell for an already fraught U.S.-China security relationship? And how should the United States respond in its efforts to maintain “strategic stability”?
On December 13, 2021, the National Committee interviewed M. Taylor Fravel and Tong Zhao to discuss these questions and more on China’s expanding nuclear capabilities.