The 196-page report, which is given yearly to Congress, describes objectives to achieve a "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" by 2049 through economic, military, political and other ways. The report also hinted that the People's Republic of China (PRC) thinks the United States is "deploying a whole-of-government effort to contain" its rise.
The Pentagon said Chinese "leaders believe that structural changes in the international system and an increasingly confrontational United States are the root causes of intensifying strategic competition between the PRC and the United States."
China is looking to form the international order around its principles simultaneously as it develops a world-class military with a system scattered all over the world.
To boost its national defense, China seeks to expand its nuclear warhead supply from around 400 to 1,500 in 2035, based on the Pentagon's estimates. It is likely to complete the modernization of its national defense and armed forces during that year.
China is also finding ways to modernize and branch out its nuclear forces, advancing its infrastructure to increase nuclear arms production.
As reported by the Pentagon, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's military force, fired 135 ballistic missiles in 2021 and launched more tests than the rest of the world in the previous year.
Beijing's increasing arsenal is becoming a cause of concern for the United States. China's buildup also raises questions about its purpose. (Related: What is China planning? Beijing rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal, sparking new war fears.)
"Will the actual increase in capability start impacting how Chinese experts think about the use of nuclear weapons? That's the uncertainty. We can't assume that if they have more capabilities that their policy is going to remain the same," said Bonny Lin, director of the China power project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Pentagon report did not evaluate what impact Russia's invasion of Ukraine may have had on China's militarization strategy or preferences, or to what extent the invasion has strengthened or weakened China's relationship with Russia.
An official familiar with the report said that although China has not armed Russia with weapons in the ongoing conflict, the former's constant support for joint military exercises with the latter is something America is closely monitoring.
According to John Erath, senior policy director for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, China is monitoring how the international community responds to Russia's threat to employ nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
"If Russia is able to gain its objectives by means of nuclear threats, China will derive lessons from that and could be potentially making these kinds of threats against Taiwan or other neighboring countries in connection with China's territorial ambitions," Erath said.
The Pentagon also mentioned that China has raised its aggression over Taiwan and that Beijing has various strategies it could utilize against the democratic island, including a "full-scale amphibious invasion" to capture parts or the whole island.
Taiwan has continued to be one of the more controversial issues between the U.S. and China, which views the island as historically part of the mainland.
The U.S. government acts under the One China policy, which acknowledges Taiwan as part of China, but maintains a relationship with the island-nation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan with a congressional delegation in a show of support for the nation last August. Pelosi's trip triggered unusual and aggressive Chinese military drills.
President Joe Biden also made remarks earlier this year implying the U.S. would defend Taiwan with military force. But Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the past month, and both leaders vowed there would not be a new "Cold War" amid escalating tensions.
The Pentagon report comes as extensive protests erupted in China this week over the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) severe Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) policies. The demonstrators have even demanded Xi to step down from his post.
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Watch the video below to know why a U.S. military nuclear chief sounded the alarm about the pace of China's nuclear weapons program.
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