The Chinese Nuclear Weapons Program

Eva Lisowski

Nuclear Weapons Education Program, MIT

1950-1954: China Sides with North Korea during the Korean War and Begins its Nuclear Weapons Program in Response to U.S. “Nuclear Blackmail”

1954-1959: The Soviet Union Aids China in the Development of its Nuclear Weapons Program

1960-1980: China Independently Develops and Tests Nuclear Weapons and Missile Technology

1980-1996: China Joins the International Nuclear Weapons Community and Institutes a Moratorium on Nuclear Weapons Testing

1996-Present: China’s Continual Modernization and Expansion of its Nuclear Weapons Capabilities


Sources: “Korean War Timeline”

The Korean War: The Chinese Intervention, U.S. Army pamphlet (CMH Pub 19-8)

Nuclear Threat Initiative: “China”

Nuclear Threat Initiative: “Lanzhou Uranium Enrichment Plant”

Global Nuclear Landscape 2018 by the Defense Intelligence Agency

The Nuclear Weapon Archive: China’s Nuclear Weapons

Arms Control Association: “Timeline of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)”

Council on Foreign Relations: “‘No First Use’ and Nuclear Weapons” by Ankit Panda