China is likely to possess at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, the Pentagon has said in its annual report on the Chinese military, a sharp increase from last year's projection of Beijing reaching a total of 400 over a period of 10 years.

The latest estimate by the U.S. Defense Department suggests growing concern in Washington over the potential for rapid growth of China's nuclear arsenal as the rivalry between the two countries intensifies in various fields.

The report said China is expected to be capable of possessing up to 700 nuclear warheads by 2027, when the country's military marks the 100th anniversary of its founding.