China versus the US – Comparing Nuclear Arsenals

The Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry reports on China’s Nuclear Capabilities saying, “As Presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama meet in Washington, DC, it is important to note that this is different from Cold War era summits, as the United States and China share far more common interests, including economic concerns, than the US and the USSR ever did.”

The Foundry then points out that China is modernizing its nuclear arsenal with new warheads and a new ballistic missile submarine (one), while the US does not have a modernization program for its nuclear arsenal.

However, what The Foundry doesn’t say tells a different story.

The US has 18 Ohio class nuclear-powered submarines. Fourteen of these so called out-dated submarines carries 24 (each carry multiple warheads) Trident II SLBMs (updated in the 1990s), and four are capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles with either conventional or nuclear warheads.

The oldest Ohio class submarine is thirty-five and the latest fourteen. Considering how well the US military cares for its operational equipment, I am sure they are well maintained.

In 2005 and 2006, the Department of Defense’s annual report on China’s military forces included a detailed table of China’s ballistic missiles. The table suggested that China had 250-296 launchers with 793-916 missiles of seven types. Of these, approximately 105 are thought to be armed with nuclear warheads. Source: FAS

In comparison, the Arms Control Association says, “The United States has approximately 500 operational tactical weapons, and approximately 2,645 inactive warheads (with a total of more than 5,000).”

In fact, France, Russia and the United Kingdom each have more nuclear weapons than China.

Why is the Heritage Foundation making a big deal of the fact that China has one ballistic missile submarine and is updating its nuclear arsenal with more modern equipment?

How much of a difference is there in the death and destruction caused by 105 nuclear bombs compared to 500?

Learn from experts why China is not a Threat


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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4 Responses to China versus the US – Comparing Nuclear Arsenals

  1. Nikolaus Mak says:

    Why I said that because if we look into the past? As we all know, the US and Russia have threatened China, they will use their nuclear missiles to attack China. Under these circumstances, with no arguments, every countries has their right to develop it’s own nuclear weapons to defend themselves.

    • Right again. The facts speak for themselves.

      During the Korean war, General MacArthur and his political allies wanted to use nuclear bombs on China’s cities so the US could win the war quickly and China would be devistated so it would never rise as a super power. However, President Truman, who was responsible for the decision to bomb two cities in Japan with nuclear weapons during World War II, said no and eventually had to fire MacArthur because the general didn’t want to take no for an answer.

      Then in the late 1960s, Russia wanted to use nuclear weapons on China when Nixon was President of the US, and Nixon said if Russia used them, the US would consider it an act of war and the US would retaliate. A few years later Nixon made his trip to China and the doors started to open.

      It is obvious that China has no intention to use nuclear weapons to defeat other nations. If China wanted to do that, they would keep building nuclear weapons until China’s arsenal was as large as Russia and the US. China has a few hundred nuclear weapons (less than 400) as a defensive deterrent to make enemies think twice before a nuclear attack on China. The US had thousands of warheads and so does Russia. No other country on earth has as many nuclear weapons as Russia and the US.

      If China did not have its nuclear arsenal, it could easily be intimidated and threatened by nations that are more powerful.

      If anyone wants more evidence of China’s peaceful intent, consider that in the last thirty years, China has reduced poverty more than any nation on the earth (while poverty has increased in the US), created a prosperous middle class (which is still growing), modernized its cities (and built a modern infrastructure) improved lifestyles for all by two and one half percent of its population (according to the CIA Factbook) while planting more trees than any nation on earth to reverse the environmental damage that centuries of growth and wars (caused by foreign powers starting with the first Opium War in the early 19th century) and what happened during the Great Leap Forward under Mao did to China.

  2. Nikolaus Mak says:

    In comparison, we should not worrying about the China to develop it’s own nuclear arsenals because it is for own protection. My personal point of view, I do not think the China will be an aggressor neither in the past, present or future.

    • I agree. For centuries after China was unified, it had the technology and power to wage wars as the Mongols did under Genghis Khan. In fact, most of the wars wages while the Han ruled China were defensive in nature to subdue enemies that kept attacking China.

      In addition, the two dynasties that were the most warlike took place during the Yuan (Mongol conquerors of China) and Qing dynasty (Manchu conquerors of China), which were not ruled by the Han Chinese. Other than the first emperor, China has never really had a Hitler, Napoleon, or Alexander the Great (all Westerners) that wanted to conquer the world.

      The Han were the ones that also built the Great Wall to defend against those that kept invading China — mainly the Mongols and Manchu.

      Tibet was also a threat for centuries as Tibetans prior to the 13th century kept invading China form their mountain fortresses. It wasn’t until a Tang Dynasty emperor married his daughter to the Tibetan King that peace was finally achieved. Then the Yuan dynasty under the Mongols conquered Tibet and Tibet was subdued again by the Ming Dynasty then the Qing to make sure the Tibetans would never wage war on China again.

      For most of China’s recorded history, most of its wars were fought to insure harmony or were rebellions and civil wars to rid China of corrupt imperial governments and decadent emperors.

      Most people are not aware of Tibetans warlike nature. Most are not aware that Tibetans even fought the British by invading a territory that Britain ruled over in India. The British demanded that China deal with the Tibetan aggressiveness and the Qing Dynasty was ready to dispatch an army to Tibet to punish the Tibetans that had invaded a portion of British India but the British couldn’t’ wait any longer and sent an expeditionary force into the invaded area of India, defeated the Tibetan military force then went on into Tibet all the way to Lhasa.

      China then protested and demanded that the British leave Tibet since China considered it the same as an invasion of China and the British returned to India. All of these facts are in unrevised history texts for anyone that wants to learn the (real) truth instead of believing the propaganda that comes out of the Dalai Lama’s so called democratic government in exile.

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