China’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Continues to Grow

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According to a report by Semafor, China has refused to enter into nuclear treaty talks with the United States. Stating that China has nowhere near the number of American or Russian nuclear warheads, the Chinese government does not see negotiations being fruitful.

The United States and Russia dominate the world’s nuclear weapons arsenal. During the Cold War, both countries were the only parties to bilateral arms control treaties such as SALT and START. France, Britain, and China are the other three recognized nuclear states, whose number of warheads are in the low hundreds. While France and Britain have been reducing the number of weapons and delivery systems, China’s have been growing.

China has declared a “no first use” policy, meaning it would not fire nuclear weapons unless used against it. The United States and Russia have not made such commitments. Since the end of the Cold War and particularly after the start of the Ukraine War, Russia has been more belligerent in its talk of nuclear weapon use. Russia has also said that it will not engage in further nuclear talks since NATO is arming Ukraine.

A SIPRI report has shown that China has increased its stockpile by 15% in on year. Overall, “the world is drifting into one of the most dangerous periods in human history”, a SIPRI director stated. China has particularly developed a second-strike capability with its new submarines, making any preemptive attack on China impossible without risking retaliation.

The Post-Cold War international system is dangerously fraying. The United States will have to learn to navigate international diplomacy, where simply stating the government’s position is not enough to impose America’s will on the world.


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