Information released by the China Academy of Engineering Physics earlier this year revealed that between September 2014 and December 2017, China carried out around 200 laboratory experiments to simulate the physics of a nuclear blast. These findings were reported in a May 28 article in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.
The Post also cited data from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory stating that the United States carried out only 50 such tests between 2012 and 2017, which averages about 10 per year.
Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie told the Post, “The use of small warheads will lead to the use of bigger ones.”
Despite China being highly unlikely to actually deploy its nuclear weapons, it remained necessary to develop them, Li said. “If other countries use nuclear weapons on us, we have to retaliate. This is probably why there is research to develop new weapons,” Li continued.
It is important to keep in mind that any statements originating in Beijing are subject to Chinese communist censorship and must serve Beijing’s propaganda purposes.
While the nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs of communist North Korea are often the subject of intense scrutiny and threatened sanctions from the United States, our government has said much less about China’s military capabilities. With a population of 1.4 billion, the world’s largest standing military, with 2.3 million active troops, and an arsenal of between 50 and 75 nuclear ICBMs, China represents a formidable military threat, should it engage in war against the United States or neighboring Asian countries. While few consider that to be a likely occurrence, China has threatened war in the past.
The Global Times, owned by the Chinese Communist Party’s People's Daily, said in an editorial back in 2015 that “U.S.-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea ... if the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities” in the disputed Spratly Islands.
Photo of copy of a Chinese Dongfeng missile: craa22uk