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

By Susan Turner Haynes | Go to book overview

Conclusion

The observation of empirical similarities and differences across cases is a common catalyst for academic inquiry in political science. Thus far, this book has investigated the discrepant direction of China’s nuclear arsenal as compared with the other NPT nuclear weapon states. In particular, the question it asks is why China has decided to build new nuclear weapon delivery systems and increase its overall nuclear arsenal while the other NPT nuclear weapon states have retired their systems and decreased their total number of nuclear weapons. The answer to this question has significant implications for future bilateral and multilateral disarmament negotiations. It is not, however, the only question worth examining.

In addition to asking about the direction of China’s nuclear force over the past twenty-five years, one can also inquire about the pace of China’s buildup compared with the other nuclear weapon states. From this perspective, the central question becomes, why have we not seen a faster buildup of Chinese nuclear forces? After all, if China has the economic means, wouldn’t one expect it to behave similarly to the United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War? Why has China not attempted to more aggressively narrow the quantitative gap between its force and the force of the nuclear superpowers? Answering these separate but related questions would require another volume of research, but this final chapter offers several potential answers. In particular, it outlines what the Chinese literature indicates are constraints on China’s nuclear growth. This sets the stage for a deeper discussion of the potential for Chinese nuclear disarmament. The second half of the chapter provides specific policy recommendations to promote China’s participation in future multilateral and bilateral nuclear disarmament conversations.

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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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