At 1500, Peking time, on 16 October 1964, a light brighter than a thousand suns flashed over the desert wasteland of western China, and for the first time, a huge mushroom-shaped cloud with a radio-active heart billowed skyward over the world's most populous nation. U. S. intelligence had enabled the coming of that historic event to be forecast, only a little more than two weeks before, by Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Assurances could be truthfully given at that time that the detonation of a single device was not equivalent to a nuclear stockpile; that the United States, still the most powerful nation on earth, was secure. Eight years will soon have passed since that time, and the cataclysmic forces which have been unleashed inside China, evidenced by purges of respected leaders and by the Cultural Revolution, have failed to slow the rapid pace of the Chinese nuclear weapons development program.
China: Nuclear Dragon
By Lieutenant Commander Scott Allen, U. S. Navy