China and weapons of mass destruction
The People's Republic of China has developed and possesses weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and nuclear weapons. The first of China's nuclear weapons tests took place in 1964, and its first hydrogen bomb test occurred in 1967. Tests continued until 1996, when China signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). China has acceded to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1984 and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997.
|People's Republic of China|
|First nuclear weapon test||October 16, 1964|
|First thermonuclear weapon test||June 17, 1967|
|Last nuclear test||July 29, 1996|
|Largest yield test||4 Mt
|Current stockpile||~350 (2020 est)|
|Current strategic arsenal||Unknown|
|Cumulative strategic arsenal in megatonnage||294 megatons (2009 est.)|
|Maximum missile range||15,000 km|
|NPT party||Yes (1992, one of five recognized powers)|
|Weapons of mass destruction|
The number of nuclear warheads in China's arsenal is a state secret. There are varying estimates of the size of China's arsenal. China was estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have an arsenal of about 260 total warheads as of 2015, the fourth largest nuclear arsenal amongst the five nuclear weapon states acknowledged by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and one of 320 total warheads by the SIPRI Yearbook 2020, the third largest. According to some estimates,[who?] the country could "more than double" the "number of warheads on missiles that could threaten the United States by the mid-2020s".
Early in 2011, China published a defense white paper, which repeated its nuclear policies of maintaining a minimum deterrent with a no-first-use pledge. China has yet to define what it means by a "minimum deterrent posture". This, together with the fact that "it is deploying four new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, invites concern as to the scale and intention of China’s nuclear upgrade".