Russia and the United States are leading the count in active nuclear warheads. China has been making a lot of progress in their efforts to produce their own nuclear arsenal, however. This leaves us to wonder, how many nukes does China have?
China has become the country to watch, as reports from the Pentagon say that “China’s stockpile of warheads was in the “low-200s” and might double by the end of the decade.” So what does this mean for the rest of us?
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How Many Nukes Does China Have?
Does China have nukes? Of course, the answer is yes. Although the Pentagon reports that China still had fewer than 300 nuclear weapons in 2020, this pales in comparison to the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons, which is close to about 2,000.
When it comes to the question of “How many nukes does China have in 2022?” Pentagon reports only have estimates. Though 2020 reports had the number at almost 300, there are no official reports saying how many China nukes there are in 2022. Some estimates and rumors put current numbers at anywhere between 350 and 750, however.
What the reports do show is a rough estimate of how many nukes China should have by the year 2030: “…about 1,000 operational nuclear warheads, most of which will be fielded on systems capable of ranging the continental United States.” By 2035, China will have an estimated ”stockpile of about 1,500 warheads” if they continue at their current pace of nuclear expansion.
When Did China Get Nukes?
The start of China’s nuclear journey stems all the way back to 1951. China signed an agreement in secret with Moscow to provide uranium ore to the Soviet Union in exchange for their assistance in nuclear technology.
Since then, China has continued developing their nuclear weapons despite the Soviet Union withholding their plans and data for an atomic bomb and withdrawing their advisors.
In the 1960s, China made a lot of progress, as they tested out their very first nuclear bomb at Lop Nur on October 16, 1964. In less than 32 months, “China detonated its first hydrogen bomb on June 14, 1967.”
Around this time, China was experiencing their Cultural Revolution, which significantly slowed down their progress in their strategic weapons program. However, the China nukes count has been steadily rising over the past few decades.
When we ask, “How many nukes does China have?” there’s actually no definite answer to that question available to the public.
Can China Nuke America?
The China nuke threat, though unlikely, is still real given their growing dominance in the nuclear weapon space.
For the longest time, the United States has had a favorable advantage over China in their nuclear weapons arsenal. However, over the last two decades, “China has been pursuing a long-held goal of modernizing its nuclear forces.” Therefore, “China has been rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal to move far beyond a ‘lean and effective’ structure and closer to parity—if not superiority—to the United States and Russia.”
China can most definitely nuke America, as they have the power to even strike down America from orbit. China has recently been moving their nukes to outer space and can dodge detection from satellites.
China moving nukes to outer space would change the game for our nuclear arsenal here in the United States. Their technological boom in aerospace technology and their military advancements are definitely alarming to the United States.
The World Is Watching China
China’s rapid production of nuclear weapons has certainly raised a few eyebrows in concern. The United States government will keep a close watch on China, as they can become a top competitor in the race to become the leader in nuclear weapon production.
When we ask, “How many nukes does China have?” their number may be minuscule compared to the United States now, but at the rate at which they are manufacturing these deadly weapons, they have the capability of becoming the biggest global threat and can affect the lives of many.
Image: TEH ENG KOON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES