Proliferation News
» October 27, 2011

The "Underground Great Wall:" An Alternative Explanation

James Acton | Carnegie Proliferation Analysis


It is tempting to dismiss the story in Monday's Wall Street Journal claiming that China has around 3,000 nuclear warheads as the kind of reporting that could only be considered "fair and balanced" on Fox News and just ignore it. After all, as long ago as 2004, Jeffrey Lewis tracked down the origin of media reports cited by the Journal that China has 2,350 nuclear weapons.

Embarrassingly, the source is an online essay based on bogus U.S. intelligence information that was posted by a Singapore University student. Moreover, it hardly seems worth wasting storage space on the Carnegie server explaining why it is invalid to estimate the size of China's contemporary arsenal by taking a 1960s U.S. intelligence report that predicted how many warheads China would have in 1973 and then assuming that it has built up at a constant rate since then. What does make the article worth engaging with, however, is its inability to even try to understand China's strategic challenges and why it might go to some fairly extreme lengths to try to solve them.     Full Article

Follow the Nuclear Policy Program
RSS News Feed Facebook Twitter
Footer information begins here
More from Proliferation News

Walter Pincus | Washington Post
The United States has slightly reduced its numbers of strategic intercontinental missiles, bombers and nuclear warheads, but it continues to maintain a major advantage over Russia, according to figures released this week by the State Department.     Full Article

Des Browne and Ian Kearns | Carnegie Commentary
In the midst of a financial crisis of existential proportions for the euro, nuclear issues have been pushed to the margins of the European political debate. This is understandable, but it cannot be allowed to continue.     Full Article

National Post
Russia's talks with the West on missile defence are "going nowhere," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday, staking out a tough position in a dispute the United States wants to resolve before elections next year in both nations.     Full Article

Related News
Khaleej Times
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pledged Wednesday to preserve a "nuclear umbrella" protecting close ally South Korea, a day after the U.S. held talks with Seoul's hostile neighbour North Korea.    Full Article

Global Security Newswire
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her new memoir states that senior Bush administration officials were told by the CIA in 2002 that North Korea had constructed a sizable uranium enrichment plant -- eight years before Pyongyang declared such activities to the world.     Full Article

Footer information begins here

Carnegie Resources

Browse     Issues     Regions     Programs     Experts     Events     Publications

Multilingual Content     Русский     中文     عربي

Global Centers     Washington DC     Moscow     Beijing     Beirut     Brussels

Follow Carnegie
RSS News Feeds Facebook Twitter YouTube Scribd

About Proliferation News

Produced twice weekly, Proliferation News provides a free summary of news and analysis on efforts to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons. Visit the Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program website for further information and resources. Please send your comments and suggestions to the editor at

About the Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program

The Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program is an internationally acclaimed source of expertise and policy thinking on nuclear industry, nonproliferation, security, and disarmament. Its multinational staff stays at the forefront of nuclear policy issues in the United States, Russia, China, Northeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

About the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. Founded in 1910, its work is nonpartisan and dedicated to achieving practical results.

As it celebrates its Centennial, the Carnegie Endowment is pioneering the first global think tank, with offices now in Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Beirut, and Brussels. These five locations include the centers of world governance and the places whose political evolution and international policies will most determine the near-term possibilities for international peace and economic advance.

++Email++ is subscribed to Proliferation News.

Manage Newsletter Subscriptions  |  Update Profile  |  Forward to a Friend |  Unsubscribe

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 483 7600  |  Fax: 202 483 1840  |  Email: