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

By Susan Turner Haynes | Go to book overview

5 The Influence of Regional Powers

Though China views the United States as its primary threat, it cannot afford to ignore the other nuclear powers. China is positioned within the missile radius of nearly every nuclear weapon state, and it shares borders with four of these states. Moreover, three of its neighbors are building up their nuclear forces. Since China’s primary focus is on the United States, it must learn to manage multiple nuclear deterrence relationships in the context of a volatile regional environment where the global hegemon has an increasing presence. This section discusses how China deals with this dynamic, and it also assesses the threat China perceives from nuclear and nuclear-capable states in the region.


India—Intent, Minimal Means

While many Western texts present the Sino-Indian relationship as precarious and as a possible pretext for a regional arms race, India does not, from the Chinese perspective, present an acute threat to Chinese security. In fact, China pays relatively little attention to India at all in this respect. A longitudinal analysis of Chinese news reports and academic literature illustrates a surge of attention toward India in 1998, when India first declared itself a nuclear weapon state. Even at this time, however, the sentiment most evoked by the tests was regret rather than alarm. A Sino-Indian nuclear conflict was never seriously considered in China. Instead, the majority of attention went toward assessing the implications of Indian action on the global movement toward nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. This was demonstrated immediately after India announced its tests, with the remarks of Chinese spokesperson Zhu Bangzao. Zhu read aloud the Chinese government’s official response to Indian action, stating that the tests demonstrated “outra-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Abbreviations x
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - A Typology of Nuclear Strategies 11
  • 2 - Force Structure Variance 44
  • 3 - China’s Nuclear Strategy 58
  • 4 - The Influence of America 91
  • 5 - The Influence of Regional Powers 107
  • 6 - The Influence of Prestige 127
  • Conclusion 136
  • Notes 149
  • Bibliography 165
  • Index 173
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