China ‘hiding up to 3,000 nuclear warheads in secret tunnels’
An unconventional project by US university students has concluded that China’s nuclear arsenal could be many times larger than current estimates, drawing the attention of Pentagon analysts.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Georgetown University students under the instruction of a former Pentagon official have assembled the largest body of public knowledge yet about a vast network of secret tunnels dug by China’s secretive Second Artillery Corps, responsible for nuclear warheads.
The 363-page study has not yet been published, but has already sparked a congressional hearing and been circulated among top US defence officials, including the Air Force vice chief of staff, the Post reported.
"It’s not quite a bombshell, but those thoughts and estimates are being checked against what people think they know based on classified information," it quoted an unnamed Defense Department strategist as saying.
The newspaper said critics of the report had questioned the students methods, which included using internet-based sources like Google Earth, blogs, military journals and even a fictionalised Chinese TV show.
But the Post also said the students were able to obtain a 400-page manual produced by the Second Artillery and usually only available to Chinese military personnel.