China Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Arms Thread


Josh Luo

Senior Member
Registered Member
I wouldn't take anything Billingslea says seriously, his job is fearmongering and his most notable accomplishments in the field of arms control are having negotiations for New START fall apart under his guidance (which he won't admit, despite Russians saying as such) and trying to shame China into joining arms control in the most bizzaro manner possible (staging pictures of Chinese flags in front of an empty table when China never agreed to join negotiations in the first place). His "estimates" of the Chinese nuclear arsenal are significantly higher and clash with the estimates of his own government, and his sole purpose in the administration's foreign policy strategy seems to be the dismantling of arms control, and trying to make it look justified.
Compete to see how "low" each side could get.
 

silentlurker

Junior Member
Registered Member
I mean, basically every country in the world has a NFU policy unofficially right? I don't see how China repealing NFU will do anything other than create more ammo for "big scary ccp" propaganada
 

Figaro

Senior Member
Registered Member
I mean, basically every country in the world has a NFU policy unofficially right? I don't see how China repealing NFU will do anything other than create more ammo for "big scary ccp" propaganada
Having NFU may be the ultimate ruse of war if you think about it. For example, if China were to launch a first strike (breaking NFU), then it is very likely to achieve a significant element of surprise over the enemy. Ultimately, I don't think you would care about a non-legally binding policy when you are planning on using nuclear weapons in a potential civilization ending event.
 

totenchan

New Member
Registered Member
Having NFU may be the ultimate ruse of war if you think about it. For example, if China were to launch a first strike (breaking NFU), then it is very likely to achieve a significant element of surprise over the enemy. Ultimately, I don't think you would care about a non-legally binding policy when you are planning on using nuclear weapons in a potential civilization ending event.
NFU policies are built off the assumption that there is no scenario in which you choose to end potentially end civilization in your and in an adversarial nation unless the other country decided that that's what they wanted first. An element of surprise means absolutely zilch against an enemy like the United States, by the way, because there's no possibility that all the US's nuclear forces get destroyed in a first strike, just like its incredibly unlikely that all of China's weapons get destroyed in a first strike. There's no reason at all to doubt China's commitment to its NFU policy at this point, describing it as a "ruse of war" is ignorant at best and senseless fearmongering at worst.
 

windsclouds2030

Just Hatched
Registered Member
Exactly what's the latest Marshall Billingslea's number on China's nuke warheads?

Look around yet couldn't spot it.

As reported by
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on 2020-06-30:

According to SIPRI's recent yearbook for 2020, the US has 5,800 nuclear warheads, Russia has 6,375, China has 320, the UK has 215 and France has 290 warheads.

An annual assessment of China's military capabilities to the US Congress in 2018 noted that Beijing had around 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles (with range less than 1,000km) and nearly 300 medium-range ballistic missiles (with range between 1,000km to 3,000km).
 

silentlurker

Junior Member
Registered Member
Having NFU may be the ultimate ruse of war if you think about it. For example, if China were to launch a first strike (breaking NFU), then it is very likely to achieve a significant element of surprise over the enemy. Ultimately, I don't think you would care about a non-legally binding policy when you are planning on using nuclear weapons in a potential civilization ending event.
A. I think if we have figured out in a day on an internet forum that a piece of paper is ultimately a piece of paper, intelligence services around the world have done the same.

B. All of the countries China could possibly have a reason for preemptive strikes against (US, India) have SLBMs which render suprise first strikes essentially useless.
 

AssassinsMace

Brigadier
It's all political. They would never believe any number that doesn't fit their agenda even if it was found to be true. Trump wants more nukes so any number China has that's less will not be believed because Trump needs an excuse to make more. That's why Trump ended all these agreements because he wanted to make more nukes. Focusing on how many China has is meant to distract from it.
 

escobar

Brigadier
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This recent interview of the Chinese arms control envoy is worth a read to anybody interested in the subject, it's very good.
Elena: Ah, well, the US authorities say that China may be already being at 1000 warheads. Marshall Billingslea has talked about such numbers as well. And so I'm wondering how close this is, from your point of view,to any reality.

FU: Actually, frankly speaking, we don't know where this number came from. And as a matter of fact, the US has given us a lot of variations when it comes to their assessment on the size of the Chinese nuclear arsenal. The latest one they gave is in the report issued by the Department of Defense, saying that the Chinese nuclear arsenal is in the low 200. I hope Billingslea has read that report. But whatever the figure is, I'm not in a position to confirm any of these figures. But so this actually leads to the issue of nuclear transparency. And we think that, indeed, we heard some comments about China's a lack of transparency in the size and the number of nuclear warheads. Let me put this into perspective, when it comes to nuclear transparency, basically there are two aspects: one is the transparency in doctrines, the other is transparency in numbers. When it comes to transparency in doctrine, I think China is the most transparent among all the nuclear weapon states. Because China's no-first-use policy is unconditional, and the only purpose of China's nuclear forces is to deter and to counterattack a nuclear attack. So I can't see how much more transparent you can be in the doctrinal aspect.

ELENA: And in terms of the numbers?


FU: When it comes to numbers. Indeed, because China maintains its unconditional no-first-use policy, because China's nuclear forces is extremely limited. So for the purpose of maintaining the effectiveness of the Chinese nuclear deterrence, it is important that China maintains certain degree of ambiguity in terms of its numbers, especially given the fact that the US, which regards China as the biggest competitor, is adopting such hostile policies towards China, has maintained such a huge nuclear arsenal, which goes up to 6000. And also the US, especially given the fact that the US adopts a very aggressive nuclear doctrine in terms of refusing to commit itself to no first use and actually enlarging the scenarios under which they would use nuclear weapons. Can you imagine that they are talking about using nuclear weapons against cyber attacks? And also we should not forget that the US is developing and deploying missile defense systems everywhere in the world. And that will undoubtedly undermine the effectiveness of the of China's nuclear deterrence. And also, we should not forget that after withdrawing from the INF Treaty, the US is talking about deploying very quickly intermediate range land-based missiles in the neighborhood of China. So all these are actually posing severe threats to Chinese security, and also to the survivability of China's nuclear forces. We have made that point very clear to the US. We say that the US planned deployment of the intermediate range land-based missiles in the neighborhood of China will undermine the strategic stability in this part of the world.

So under all these circumstances,you can't expect China to be both transparent in doctrine and transparent in numbers. So that is the whole situation. So we hope that the US can adopt a more rational approach when it comes to the nuclear issues.

ELENA: Is it fair to say that the Chinese arsenal is the third after Russia and the US?

FU: Well, first, let me say that it is unfair to put China in the same category as Russia and the US. Because we are talking about, according to the US assessment, Chinese arsenal, which is in the low 200. But when it comes to the nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia, even after their reduction, they still have 6000 each. So you put China into the same category of Russia and the US? I think it is not correct. And that's why we think that the US, as you mentioned, the US is coming up with a very ridiculous concept. They are actually publicly saying that just recently in the First Committee of the United Nations general debate, they talked about the three largest nuclear weapon states. I think this is a very ridiculous concept. We will tell them that there are only two largest nuclear weapon states, there are no third largest nuclear weapon state. I don't want to comment on the specific numbers. I think it is more reasonable to put China in the same category as France and UK. Incidentally, in terms of absolute numbers, we don't know whether China is ahead of them or after them. As I said, we need to maintain a certain degree of ambiguity for the effectiveness of our nuclear deterrence, and we don't have strong allies as UK and France have.
 

gelgoog

Senior Member
Registered Member
China is quite clearly ahead of the UK and France in terms of nuclear warheads. I think it is ridiculous to assume China has all those nuclear capable missiles without any warheads to arm them. But yes China is still quite far behind either the US or Russia in terms of number of warheads for historical and economic reasons. Claiming that nuclear weapons reduction treaties only make sense with China at the table, like the US is doing, is nonsense. The reduction agreements started out as a way to reduce expenses on what was a futile metric. Both the Soviet and US blocks were destroying resources on nuclear weapons when the money could have been used elsewhere in the economy. It was plain waste. Once intercontinental missiles, with hydrogen bombs, and MIRVed warheads became available even if a single missile went through the estimated damage was simply too much to be ignored.

China has arguably a more modern nuclear infrastructure than the US. I'll give you an example the US doesn't even use centrifuge technology in meaningful numbers and AFAIK all US uranium enrichment facilities have been mothballed. It depends on imports. Namely from Russia as part of nuclear weapons reductions agreements. The US also lacks the ability to process spent nuclear fuel and put the kibosh on a facility built with French know-how because it was "costing too much money" so they can't process spent nuclear fuel either.
France has more modern nuclear fuel processing than the US does that's how pathetic the US nuclear industry today is.
In case of a massive ramp-up the US would have to spend quite a lot of money on imports because of this. Thankfully for them they can refurbish older nuclear warheads they have to make new ones.
 

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