I was recently doing some research on China’s nuclear arsenal and realized that “this 2004 Chinese MFA statement”:http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zzjg/jks/cjjk/2622/t93539.htm is frequently cited as a guide to how large Beijing’s arsenal may be.
The relevant portion reads:
bq. Among the nuclear-weapon states, China has performed the least number of nuclear tests and possesses the smallest nuclear arsenal.
Obviously, more data has emerged on the Chinese arsenal since 2004, but I think one factoid warrants a bit of attention: the United Kingdom claimed in its “December 2006 Defence White Paper”:http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/uk/doctrine/sdr06/index.html that it had
bq. the smallest stockpile of nuclear warheads amongst the nuclear weapon States recognised under the NPT…
At that time, London possessed about 200 operationally available nuclear warheads and also had a stockpile of warheads. The UK still has such a stockpile, the number of which is kept secret..
In any case, this data may no longer be _that_ relevant, given that (based on the Chinese Military Power reports from the last few years) Beijing appears to be increasing its arsenal while London has been “implementing reductions.”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1575/uk-nukes-hit-new-low