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That analysis is questionable because U.S. officials have said China’s nuclear forces have expanded rapidly in recent years along with its large missile forces. Reports from Asia say China’s nuclear arsenal could be three to five times the size of its estimated 400 nuclear warheads, with as many as 2,300 warheads.

In 2009, Mr. Medeiros wrote that “China’s international behavior is not ideologically driven.” As a result, he clashed with U.S. Pacific Command officials.

Mr. Medeiros, in internal emails, sided with China when the U.S. Pacific Command criticized Beijing for backing Pyongyang over the findings of an international panel that said a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean warship.

Mr. Medeiros also has been criticized for writing that China is not seeking to displace the United States as the predominant global power, and, as he said in a Rand monograph, that China is not seeking to “confront the United States or expel it from the region.”

That assertion was shown to be false in 2009, when then-Pacific Command commander Adm. Tim Keating revealed how a Chinese admiral proposed dividing the Pacific into two spheres — western waters controled by China and eastern seas under U.S. forces. The proposal was rejected.

In 2008, Mr. Medeiros co-wrote a monograph stating that East Asia is not gradually falling under Chinese hegemony. Military leaders at the Pacific Command, however, have said China is quietly expanding its hegemony in the region.

Mr. Medeiros opposed U.S. diplomatic efforts to bolster Japan after threats from Beijing forced Tokyo to release a Chinese fishing boat captain arrested for illegally fishing in Japanese waters. He also backed the U.S. Navy’scaving in to pressure not to send an aircraft carrier to the Yellow Sea earlier this year amid Chinese threats.