China and its Development of Nuclear Weapons

  • Leo Yueh-Yun Liu


Communist China’s nuclear programme actually started about 1953, nominally to develop the peaceful use of atomic energy. In May of the same year a Committee of Atomic Energy was set up in the Chinese Academy of Science and as early as March 1954 Kuo Mo-jo, President of the Academy, announced that China had laid the foundation of atomic energy research. On 12 October 1954, an agreement to co-operate on scientific and technological matters was signed by Communist China and the Soviet Union. On 18 January 1955 the Soviet Union announced that it would help Communist China to study the peaceful uses of atomic energy, and that the latter was to receive a research reactor with a head capacity of 6500–10,000 kilowatts. In the same year, Communist China announced its first Five Year Plan in which the development of the peaceful use of nuclear energy was listed as the first major task.


Nuclear Weapon Atomic Energy Commission Nuclear Test World Politics Ballistic Missile 
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  1. 5.
    New York Times 22 Aug 1963. For Alice Langley Hsieh’s comment, see herCommunist China’s Strategy in the Nuclear Era (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962) p. 100.Google Scholar
  2. W. L. Ryan and S. Summerlin, China Cloud, p. 188; C. Y. Cheng, Scientific and Engineering Manpower in Communist China, 1949–63, National Science Foundation ( Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965 ).Google Scholar
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    W. L. Ryan and S. Summerlin, China Cloud: America’s Tragedy and Gina’s Rise to Nuclear Power ( Boston: Little, Brown, 1968 ) p. 188.Google Scholar
  4. 34.
    China appears to have produced ample supplies of lithium ore concentrates, beryllium concentrates, borax wolfram concentrates, piezoelectric quartz, mercury, tantalum-biobium concentrates, molybdenum concentrates and tin, all of which are needed for nuclear weapons development. For details see John A. Berberet, Science and Technology in Communist China (Santa Barbara, Calif.: General Electric Co., Technical Military Planning Operation, 1960 ).Google Scholar
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    Leonard Beaton, ‘The Chinese Bomb: the Institute for Strategic Studies View’, Survival, 7, no. 1 (Jan-Feb 1965) 2–4. See also New York Times, 2 Nov 1966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 41.
    For Secretary of Defence Melvin R. Laird’s statement before a joint session of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, see Fiscal Year 1971 Defense Program and Budget ( Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970 ).Google Scholar
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    Morton H. Halperin, China and the Bomb ( New York: F. A. Praeger, 1965 ) p. 154.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leo Yueh-Yun Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Brandon UniversityCanada

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