Book Chapter - Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

China's Nuclear Force Modernization

| June 2020

Since 2015 China has shown it is quickly modernising its nuclear force through adding more and “better” intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs). Based on Chinese publications and Western governmental and non-governmental estimates, this author estimates that in 2020 China has a total inventory of approximately 360±50 nuclear warheads. This stockpile is likely to grow further over the next decade as additional nuclear capable missiles become operational. In particular, China nuclear force modernization has been driven mainly by expansion in US missile defence programmes as many Chinese believe. China’s arsenal may be somewhat larger than France’s but is much smaller than the US and Russia.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Hui Zhang, China chapter “ China’s nuclear force modernisation,” in Allison Pytlak and Ray Acheson ed., Assuring destruction forever: 2020 edition. June 2020, Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.