China rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, says US DoD report

by Gabriel Dominguez

Several road-mobile DF-41 ICBM systems on display during a military parade held at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on 1 October 2019. According to the Pentagon's ‘2021 China Military Report', Beijing is rapidly increasing its nuclear arsenal and also considering additional launch options for the DF-41, including silos. (Zoya Rusinova/TASS via Getty Images)

China is expanding its nuclear weapon capabilities much faster than US officials had predicted a year ago, the US Department of Defense (DoD) said in its 2021 report on military and security developments involving the East Asian country.

The “accelerating pace” of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) nuclear expansion “may enable the PRC [People's Republic of China] to have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027. The PRC likely intends to have at least 1,000 warheads by 2030, exceeding the pace and size the [US] DoD projected in 2020,” noted the authors of the ‘2021 China Military Power Report' report, which was released on 3 November.

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NATO to increase high-readiness forces to more than 300,000

by Nicholas Fiorenza

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on the eve of the summit of allied leaders being held in Madrid from 28 to 30 June that the alliance would increase its high-readiness forces to over 300,000 troops. (NATO)

Allied leaders meeting in Madrid for the NATO summit being held from 28 to 30 June will agree to increase the alliance's high-readiness forces to strengthen its forward defences, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference on the eve of the meeting.

He expected the summit to be “transformative”, with a new NATO strategic concept that “will make clear that allies consider Russia as the most significant and direct threat to our security”, while addressing “China for the first time and the challenges that Beijing poses to our security, interests, and values”.

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Japanese minesweepers collide in waters off Iwo Jima

by Ridzwan Rahmat

A file image of JS Bungo (464). The vessel is one of two mine-countermeasures vessels involved in a 23 June collision near Iwo Jima island. (Janes/Hachiro Nakai)

Two Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs) have collided in waters around Iwo Jima island in the North Pacific Ocean.

Janes has been informed by a source close to the matter that the vessels involved are namely the Sugashima-class coastal minesweeper JS Aishima with pennant number 688 and the Uraga-class minesweeping tender JS Bungo with pennant number 464.

The collision took place at about 2122 h local time on 23 June, and there were no reports of inclement weather in the area at the time of the incident. Janes understands that both vessels were in the area to take part in an MCMexercise.

Aishima is the seventh of 11 Sugashima-class MCMVs operated by the JMSDF. The 54 m vessel was commissioned in 2004 and it is equipped with the NAUTIS-3M mine-monitoring system from NEC Corporation. The vessel is armed with a 20 mm Sea Vulcan gun.

Meanwhile, Bungo

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US Navy P-8A flies over Taiwan Strait

by Akhil Kadidal

The US Navy flew a Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft over the Taiwan Strait on 24 June 2022. (Boeing)

A US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft flew over the Taiwan Strait on 24 June in a potential signal to Beijing regarding its aggressive posturing towards Taiwan.

In its official statement, the US Indo-Pacific Command suggested that the flight was intended to counter assertions by China that the strait is not part of international waters.

“By operating within the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law, the United States upholds the navigational rights and freedoms of all nations. The aircraft's transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the command statement said.

“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows, including within the Taiwan Strait,” the US Indo-Pacific Command added.

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