China, while possessing nuclear weapons since 1964, their arsenal remains a closely guarded secret, with no official figures regarding the number of weapons.
Experts say China has the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal, with many speculating on the extent of their nuclear power.
A recent US Government report estimated has around 300 nuclear warheads and no more than a hundred ICBM to deliver them.
Al Jazeera's Adrian Brown said: “There are no official figures regarding China’s nuclear arsenal.
“That’s because it is one of the biggest state secrets of all. But, a recent US Government report estimated China currently has around 300 nuclear warheads and around 100 intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver those warheads.
“As recently as May this year, Chinese leaders pledged they would only use nuclear weapons if China was attacked first.”
However, experts have questioned how the China’s leadership would respond to a more conventional attack.
Chinese military analyst Tong Zhao said: “China will only use nuclear weapons to retaliate against a nuclear strike.
“But, we have to admit there are internal debates. Some people want to see China change its nuclear policy and treat a conventional strike on its nuclear weapons as a nuclear strike.”
Retired Nato commander Admiral James Stavridis said despite no evidence really existing, he foresees North Korean receiving outside help to build nuclear weapons.
He said: “You’ve got to think that at least part of it is coming from either China or Russia, and I have no evidence of that, but the idea that Kim Jong-un would simply be developing this on an indigenous basis within his own population of scientists simply seems unlikely given how fast it’s moving.
“It could also be cooperation between Iran and North Korea, which we do know has occurred in this nuclear space.
“It’s fair to say there is some level of outside engagement that has been helpful to Kim’s programme.”
Tong Zhao suggested China’s involvement could be less sinister with trucks sold to North Korea being later converted into nuclear weapons launchers.
He said: “China in recent years also sold heavy trucks chassis to North Korea.
“And, in those cases, North Korea certificated to China pledging these heavy trucks would only be used for logging.”
The original article was published in the Express.co.uk.
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