China has added 10 warheads to its nuclear arsenal in the past year, according to a new report from Swedish think tank Stockholm International Pace Research Institute.
China, one of the five “nuclear-weapon states” (NWS) under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has a relatively small arsenal of 250 warheads, far short of Russian and American stockpiles (8,500 and 7,700 warheads respectively), and is the only NWS to give an unqualified assurance (pdf) not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.
Nevertheless, given that both the US and Russia are working to reduce their nuclear arsenals, China’s new warheads are slightly worrying. Pakistan and India, neither of whom are party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty also expanded their arsenals.
“There is little to inspire hope that the nuclear weapon-possessing states are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals,” SIPRI researcher Shannon Kile said in a statement. “The long-term modernization programs under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a marker of international status and power.”