China is continuing to rapidly modernize, diversify and expand its nuclear arsenal, possessing “more than 500 operational nuclear warheads as of May 2023 — on track to exceed previous expectations," the Pentagon has said in a major report on Chinese military power.

According to the U.S. Defense Department’s annual congressionally mandated report released Thursday in Washington, the Pentagon estimates that China will probably have “over 1,000 operational nuclear warheads by 2030,” many of which “will be deployed at higher readiness levels.”

“What they're doing now, if you compare it to what they were doing about a decade ago, it really far exceeds that in terms of scale and complexity,” a senior U.S. defense official told a briefing on condition of anonymity. “They're expanding and investing in their land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery platforms, as well as the infrastructure that's required to support this.”