Chinese Nuclear Proliferation: How Global Politics Is Transforming China's Weapons Buildup and Modernization

Chinese Nuclear Proliferation: How Global Politics Is Transforming China's Weapons Buildup and Modernization

Chinese Nuclear Proliferation: How Global Politics Is Transforming China's Weapons Buildup and Modernization

Chinese Nuclear Proliferation: How Global Politics Is Transforming China's Weapons Buildup and Modernization

Synopsis

Behind the buildup

While the world's attention is focused on the nuclearization of North Korea and Iran and the nuclear brinkmanship between India and Pakistan, China is believed to have doubled the size of its nuclear arsenal, making it "the forgotten nuclear power," as described in Foreign Affairs. Susan Turner Haynes analyzes China's buildup and its diversification of increasingly mobile, precise, and sophisticated nuclear weapons. Haynes provides context and clarity to this complex global issue through an analysis of extensive primary source research and lends insight into questions of why China, is the only nuclear-weapon state recognized under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that continues to pursue qualitative and quantitative advancements to its nuclear force.
As the gap between China's nuclear force and the forces of the nuclear superpowers narrows against the expressed interest of many nuclear as well as non-nuclear states, Chinese Nuclear Proliferation offers policy prescriptions to curtail China's nuclear growth and to assuage fearsthat the "American World Order" presents a direct threat to China'snational security. Presenting technical concepts with minimal jargon,in a straight forward style, this book will be of use to casual China watchers and military experts alike.

Excerpt

Among the five nuclear weapon states recognized under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), China is the only state that has chosen to pursue quantitative and qualitative advancements to its nuclear force since the end of the Cold War. These advancements have resulted in more than a hundred additional operationally available Chinese nuclear weapons distributed across four new nuclear weapon systems. the United States, Russia, Great Britain, and France, by contrast, have all reduced their total number of nuclear weapons and retired several of their nuclear weapon systems. This book explores the factors influencing these decisions, first describing the influence of a state’s nuclear strategy on its force-level decisions and then discussing the impact of external and internal factors on a state’s nuclear strategy. I find the decision of China, in particular, to grow and diversify its nuclear force over the past twenty-five years can be attributed primarily to the threat it perceives from the United States and the prestige it associates with larger and more modern nuclear arsenals. Though China’s relationships with other nuclear weapon states cannot be ignored (and are discussed at length in chapter 5), these deterrence relationships exist within the penumbra of the larger strategic calculation of balancing U.S. preeminence.

A study that identifies the variables underlying China’s decision to expand and modernize its nuclear arsenal has the potential both to influence the policy arena and to advance our theoretical understanding of nuclear proliferation. Most immediately, research of this kind may enable the United States and China to build the military rapport they both seemingly desire but have not yet been able to obtain. To date, the nuclear conversation between the United States and China has been characterized by endemic miscommunication, misperception, and dis-

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