China is still completing refinements to a next-generation ballistic missile and an advanced submarine designed to fire the weapon, the head of Taiwan's National Security Bureau said on Monday.
The Type 094 submarine and Julang 2 missile have not "been deployed at any Chinese military base yet," bureau chief Tsai Teh-sheng told lawmakers in comments quoted by the Taiwanese Central News Agency.
Tsai said the new Dongfeng 41 ICBM is also "still being developed in China," but the pace of Beijing's arms advancements suggests the country is likely to soon manufacture and field the multiple-warhead weapon.
He said "China's ability to resolve ... problems or difficulties is now stronger than before, [but] it does not necessarily mean that its indigenously developed weapons can initially live up to their designed functions."
The military branch overseeing China's ground-based nuclear force is seeking to update "current equipment selectively by applying mature technology," Beijing said in a report published on Tuesday.
The People's Liberation Army Second Artillery Corps is also focused on "modernizing enhancing the safety, reliability and effectiveness of its missiles, improving its force structure of ... both nuclear and conventional missiles, [and] strengthening its rapid reaction, effective penetration, precision strike, damage infliction, protection and survivability capabilities," according to the document from the Chinese State Council Information Office.
The armed services white paper says China is gradually improving its "strategic deterrence" and "nuclear counterattack" capacities.
"If China comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear missile force will act upon the orders of the [Central Military Commission], go into a higher level of readiness, and get ready for a nuclear counterattack to deter the enemy from using nuclear weapons against China," it states. "If China comes under a nuclear attack, the nuclear missile force of the [Second Artillery Corps] will use nuclear missiles to launch a resolute counterattack either independently or together with the nuclear forces of other services."
China is believed to hold about 240 nuclear warheads, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. There are concerns that U.S. ballistic missile efforts could push Beijing to increase the size of its stockpile, issue experts told the newspaper.
The defense white paper blames an increased U.S. defense focus on China's environs for increased tensions, the Associated Press reported. The document does not specifically cite the highly publicized "rebalancing" of U.S. forces toward the Asia-Pacific.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun on Tuesday said "certain efforts ... to highlight the military agenda, enhance military deployment and also strengthen alliances are not in line with the calling of the times and are not conducive to the upholding of peace and stability in the region."
Yang urged participants to instead "enhance the mutual trust between countries in the region and contribute to peace and stability."