The Implications of Mutual Assured Vulnerability for the Indo-Pacific region
China’s nuclear modernisation might establish stability in the US-China nuclear dyad. However, it would have a cascading effect on the nuclear and conventional competition in the Indo-Pacific region
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has undertaken the qualitative and quantitative modernisation of its nuclear arsenal. In the past two years, China has constructed around 250-300 missile silos, tested a new hypersonic missile system, fielded at least two brigades of its road-mobile DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), handed over two Jin-class submarines to the People’s Liberation Army — one of which (Changzheng 18) was commissioned to enter service in April 2021, and continued deploying more road-mobile DF-31 AG launchers and dual-use DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs). The 2021 department of defense’s (DoD) report on China’s military power highlights that China could quadruple its nuclear warheads by 2030.