The great power rivalry between the United States and China has intensified in recent years and is likely to have a profound impact on international relations in the coming decades. In the past, nuclear weapons have played a limited role in China-US relations. However, the discovery of several nuclear missile silos indicate that China has started a major expansion of its nuclear arsenal, and that nuclear weapons will feature more prominently in the great power rivalry.

This seminar will address how Hans Kristensen and his colleague Matt Corda discovered China’s nuclear missile silos. Hans KristensenNicola Leveringhaus and Henrik Stålhane Hiim will at this seminar share their thoughts on the potential drivers of China’s nuclear buildup, and how it will affect strategic stability. Furthermore, they will discuss the prospects for arms control, and the potential for a renewed nuclear arms race.

The seminar will be moderated by Senior Research Fellow at NUPI, Sverre Lodgaard. It will take place at NUPI, but you can also follow us live on NUPI’s YouTube channel (no registration needed for online participation).


  • Introduction by Hans Kristensen
  • Remarks by Nicola Leveringhaus and Henrik Stålhane Hiim
  • Discussion and Q&A

Hans Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC. His work focuses on researching and writing about the status of nuclear weapons and the policies that direct them. Kristensen is a co-author to the world nuclear forces overview in the SIPRI Yearbook (Oxford University Press) and a frequent adviser to the news media on nuclear weapons policy and operations. He has co-authored Nuclear Notebook since 2001.

Nicola Leveringhaus is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies, King's College London. She specializes in the International Relations of Asia, with a focus on China and the security of that region, especially as it relates to nuclear weapons. In September 2016 she joined the Department of War Studies from Sheffield University, where she was a Lecturer in International Politics. Dr Leveringhaus was previously a Junior Research Fellow (2012), a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2012-15) and Stipendiary Lecturer in International Relations (2014-15) at the University of Oxford. Nicola completed her DPhil at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Professor Rosemary Foot. Her thesis examined China’s engagement with global nuclear order since 1949.

Henrik Stålhane Hiim is associate professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies' Center for International Security. His research focuses on Chinese foreign and security policy. He also has a strong interest in nuclear strategy and arms control. Hiim holds a PhD in political science from Oslo University (2016) and has worked as a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. From 2014-2015, he was a Stanton nuclear security predoctoral fellow at the Security Studies Program at MIT. He has also been a guest researcher at Beijing University. Hiim’s book Strategic Assistance: China and International Nuclear Weapons Proliferation analyzes China's policies towards the nuclear programs of Pakistan, Iran and North Korea. His research has also appeared in journals such as International SecurityAsian Security and Survival.