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China has up to 3,000 Nuclear Weapons Hidden in Tunnels

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China may be using thousands of miles of underground tunnels to hide a nuclear missile arsenal that is far bigger than current estimates, according to researchers.

They spent three years translating secret military documents, scouring the internet and studying satellite images for clues – and concluded that China may have as many as 3,000 missiles, compared with general estimates of between 80 and 400.

The researchers at Georgetown University, led by a former senior Pentagon official, concentrated on a 3,000-mile network of tunnels dug largely in Sichuan province by the Chinese Second Artillery, a secretive unit responsible for protecting the country’s nuclear weapons.

In 2008, thousands of radiation technicians were sent to the region after it was hit by a huge earthquake. When TV pictures showed oddly collapsed hills across the province, officials eventually admitted there was a network of tunnels underneath, dubbing it their ‘Underground Great Wall’.

The 363-page study, as yet unpublished, has been discussed in Congress and circulated among defence officials. It was commissioned as ‘homework’ by the students’ professor, Phillip Karber, a prominent Washington defence strategist during the Cold War.

Underground: The study began after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province revealed strangely collapsed hills that were believe to have tunnels underneath them

‘It’s not quite a bombshell, but those thoughts and estimates are being checked against what people think they know based on classified information,’ said a defence department official.

Critics have questioned the study’s use of internet research, including blogs and even a Chinese TV drama about artillerymen.

Nuclear analyst Gregory Kulacki said the tunnels might encourage the Chinese to have fewer rather than more missiles in the belief that they were better protected.

Nuclear non-proliferation campaigners have also attacked the report, saying it will undermine efforts to reduce atomic weapon stockpiles.

But Mark Stokes of the Project 2049 Institute, an international security think-tank, said the report highlighted ‘the uncertainty about what China has’.

Professor Karber said: ‘I don’t have the slightest idea how many nuclear weapons China really has, but neither does anyone else in the arms-control community.

‘That’s the problem with China – no one really knows except them.’

China has long been the most secretive of the five nuclear powers recognised by the international Non-Proliferation Treaty.

While Russia and America have bilateral treaties that ensure their stockpiles are monitored, the Chinese have simply claimed they keep a small number of missiles for ‘minimum deterrence’.

The U.S. has 5,000 nuclear warheads, and Russia 8,000.


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2 Responses to " China has up to 3,000 Nuclear Weapons Hidden in Tunnels "

  1. Ser Korz says:

    Uneducated guess! more than anything else, another chicken little story to vilify China as a boogie man .

    International Non-Proliferation Treaty?

    that is a joke; USA helped Israel develop its nuclear weapons ; No? ~ President Johnson probably proliferated the technology and or the material for the development of the Israeli nukes.


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  2. Paul Ross says:

    Gregory Kulacki appears to be seriously contradictory of himself, that there is this secret tunnel system, 3,000 miles long, with secret missiles and secret warheads…and supposedly that would be the grounds they “have fewer rather than more missiles in the belief that they were better protected.” No, that would be proof that their intent is to have more that we believed they have…and how many more? 3,000 makes sense. The “nonproliferator” critics are actually all for proliferation…by China because they will not be honest about their covert first strike force. Which is obviously the most credible basis for a secret nuclear force. If it was about deterrence then they would want to publish it.
    Meanwhile Obama is destroying our nuclear deterrent and our missile defenses with his anticipated post-re-election “flexibility”. But of course those “nonproliferators” will not speak a word against it, and will defend it…as we set ourselves up to be nuked.

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