Amid nuclear escalation after Russian forces took control of Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant, China plans to continue with its largest-ever nuclear force expansion and arsenal diversification in its history, as per the 2022 Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community.
According to reports, Beijing is not interested in agreements that restrict its plans and will not agree to negotiations that lock in US or Russian advantages. China is building a larger and increasingly capable nuclear missile and bomber force that is more survivable, more diverse, and on higher alert than in the past, including nuclear missile systems designed to manage regional escalation and ensure an intercontinental strike capability in any scenario.
Beijing is accelerating the development of key capabilities it believes the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) needs to confront the United States in a large-scale, sustained conflict.
The PLA Navy and Air Force are the largest in the region and continue to field advanced platforms that improve China’s ability to establish air superiority and project power. The PLA Rocket Force’s (PLARF) short, medium, and intermediate-range conventional systems can hold US forces and bases in the region at risk, the report said.
“We assess that China presents the broadest, most active, and persistent cyber-espionage threat to US Government and private sector networks,” the report said.
China’s cyber pursuits and export of related technologies increase the threats of attacks against the US homeland, suppression of US web content that Beijing views as threatening to its control, and the expansion of technology-driven authoritarianism globally.
China almost certainly is capable of launching cyberattacks that would disrupt critical infrastructure services within the United States, including against oil and gas pipelines and rail systems.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will continue efforts to achieve President Xi Jinping’s vision of making China the pre-eminent power in East Asia and a major power on the world stage. The CCP will work to press Taiwan on unification, undercut US influence, drive wedges between Washington and its partners, and foster some norms that favour its authoritarian system.
Beijing sees increasingly competitive US-China relations as part of an epochal geopolitical shift and views Washington’s diplomatic, economic, and military measures against Beijing as part of a broader US effort to prevent China’s rise and undermine CCP rule.
Beijing will also continue to promote the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to expand China’s economic, political, and military presence abroad. Beijing will adjust its approach to BRI in response to publicity and sustainability challenges and diversify project selection in an attempt to improve the initiative’s brand and minimize international criticism. China also will promote new international norms for technology and human rights, the report said.