China is developing a so-called "nuclear triad" for the first time, consisting of new land and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft, warned a European think tank.
Beijing equipped itself with at least 30 new warheads in 2019 as part of the "major modernization" of the nuclear arsenal, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
According to the independent group based in Sweden, the communist country has an estimated 320 weapons in its nuclear arsenal.
China equipped at least 30 other nuclear warheads last year as part of the country's "major modernization". The file picture taken on September 3, 2015 shows a medium-range ballistic missile & # 39; DF-26 & # 39; that passes by Tiananmen Square during a military parade
According to the independent group based in Sweden, the communist country has an estimated 320 weapons in its nuclear arsenal. The file picture taken on October 1, 2019 shows vehicles with the DF-41 ICBM on Tiananmen Square
The think tank published an analysis in mid-June that assessed the current state of the nine nuclear-armed countries, which together have an estimated 13,400 warheads earlier this year.
China is said to be one of the six countries that expanded its nuclear arsenal last year and added 30 warheads to its inventory, according to a table in the report.
The other five countries are India, Britain, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, all of which have propagated fewer than 20 warheads.
The United States, Russia, and France are said to have reduced their number of warheads, primarily to cut retired stocks.
China is said to be one of the six countries that expanded its nuclear arsenal last year and added 30 warheads to its inventory. This is shown in a table from the report by the Swedish group
The research group warned: "China is in the middle of a major modernization and expansion of its arsenal." Pictured military vehicles with the DF-17 ballistic hypersonic missile that rolls past Tiananmen Square during a parade in Beijing on October 1, 2019
Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army carry a state flag in front of a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis on June 24 on Red Square in Moscow [Russia]
The research group warned: “China is in the middle of a major modernization and expansion of its arsenal.
"For the first time, a so-called nuclear triad is being developed, which consists of new land and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft," added the think tank.
Although six countries have increased their stocks of nuclear weapons, global stocks continue to decline, the report says.
It wrote: “The decrease in the total number of nuclear weapons in the world in 2019 was mainly due to the retirement of retired nuclear weapons by Russia and the United States, which together still hold over 90 percent of global nuclear weapons.
"At the same time, both the United States and Russia have extensive and expensive programs in place to replace and modernize their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapons production facilities," the report said.
Although six countries have increased their stocks of nuclear weapons, global stocks continue to decline, the report says. This file photo, taken during a military parade on September 3, 2015, shows China's Dongfeng 21D ballistic missile against ships
The United States has a total of 5,800 nuclear warheads in January, a third of which are in use.
Russia has 6,375 weapons in its nuclear arsenal, including 1,570 warheads deployed.
Outside of nuclear armaments, according to the independent group, new threats such as chemical and biological weapons have emerged that have destabilized the global military and political landscape.
The results come after the U.S. State Department warned that China may be conducting small-scale atomic bomb tests and hiding the evidence from the rest of the world.
Lop Nur was China's only nuclear test site until 1996, when both China and the US signed the comprehensive test ban agreement and promised to comply with its terms.
The results come after the U.S. State Department warned that China may be conducting small-scale atomic bomb tests and hiding the evidence from the rest of the world. The US says there is secret activity at the remote Lop Nur test site in western Xinjang Province
Chinese President Xi Jinping can be seen on a file photo. A senior US official said concerns over China's testing activities supported President Donald Trump's call for China to join the United States and Russia to replace the new 2010 START contract
However, suspicious activity at the site during the past year has raised concerns that Beijing will violate the zero-yield standard of the test explosion contract in April, according to the US agency.
A senior US official said concerns about China's testing activities underpinned President Donald Trump's call to get China to join the United States and Russia to discuss an arms control agreement that would support the new 2010 Washington START agreement and replace Moscow, which expires in February 2021.
New START restricted the U.S. and Russia to deploying no more than 1,550 nuclear warheads, the lowest level in decades, and limited the land and submarine missiles and bombers they deliver.
China has repeatedly rejected Trump's proposal, arguing that its nuclear power is defensive and not a threat.