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US report on China’s nuclear arsenal ‘full of prejudice:’ Beijing

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
University students display a flag of the Communist Party of China to mark the party's 100th anniversary during an opening ceremony of the new semester, in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei Province, on September 10, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Chinese government has lambasted as being "full of prejudice" a new report by the United States that claims China is quickly expanding its nuclear arsenal, saying Washington is hyping the so-called "nuclear threat" from the Asian country.

In an annual report to Congress on military and security developments involving China released on Wednesday, the Pentagon claimed that China was expanding its nuclear arsenal much faster than anticipated, shrinking the gap with the US.

The report alleged that the accelerating pace could enable China to have 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027 and would likely fill its nuclear arsenal with at least 1,000 warheads by 2030, 2.5 times more than the size of what the Pentagon predicted a year ago.

However, the Pentagon said China was not likely seeking a capability to launch an unprovoked atomic strike on a nuclear-armed adversary.

On Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry rejected the report.

"The report released by the US Department of Defense, like previous similar reports, ignores facts and is full of prejudice," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a press conference.

He also stressed that Washington was using the report to "hype up talk of the China nuclear threat," emphasizing that the US was the "world's largest source of nuclear threat."

Separately on Thursday, Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times said in an editorial that the Pentagon report was highly "speculative" since the Asian country's "nuclear arsenal is one of the top state secrets."

According to the widely-circulated English-language daily, the goal of such a report on China's nuclear capability was "to release smoke bombs to wage a war of public opinion with China. They are in fact trying to impose more psychological pressure on China."

The US and Russia are the world's largest holders and developers of nuclear weapons, followed by Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and the Israeli regime. The US has produced more than 70,000 nuclear warheads since 1945, more than all other nuclear-weapon states combined. It was also the first country to manufacture nuclear weapons and is the only country to have used them -- on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. The two bombings killed up to 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians.

Relations between Washington and Beijing deteriorated sharply after former US President Donald Trump launched a trade war against China in 2018.

The two countries are also at odds over a range of other issues, including Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, and the South China Sea.

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