China’s Nuclear Force Modernization Essay

China’s Nuclear Force Modernization Essay

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The sole reason for Chinese nuclear force was to deter a nuclear attack on China. The development of U.S. missile defense systems, however, has compelled China to take an offensive reaction to this and began to advance its nuclear force. Now, there are two main reasons why a U.S. missile defense system would influenced China’s nuclear force modernization. First, a U.S. missile defense system undermines China’s nuclear minimum deterrence. Second, China continues to view the United States as its main potential enemy because of U.S. security relations in Asia, particularly Taiwan. For these reasons, Beijing’s nuclear modernization will be pursued at the same rate as Washington deploys missile defense systems to keep a viable deterrence.
China’s Minimum Deterrence
Traditionally, China’s nuclear deterrence has been defensive and limited. The former is reflected through China’s no-first use pledge and its complete retaliatory purpose. The later is reflected through China’s minimal deterrence doctrine, which means threatening with "the lowest level of damage necessary to prevent an attack, with the fewest number of nuclear weapons possible.” Admittedly, China’s top leaders, from Mao Zedong to Hu Jintao, have viewed nuclear weapons as tools to deter nuclear aggression or coercion. Mao depicted nuclear weapons as “paper tigers,” but he understood their ability to deter nuclear attacks against China and he was conscious of the danger posed by the American and then-Soviet nuclear monopoly.
Likewise, Deng Xiaoping stressed the deterrent role of nuclear weapons. Referring to their deterrent role, Deng told “officials from the Seventh Machine Industry (Aerospace), which was responsible for developing China’s ballistic missiles,” that a de...


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...d Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, July 15, 2012.

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Lampton, David M. The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money, and Minds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

Payne, Keith B. Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001.

Shirk, Susan L. China: Fragile Superpower. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Wortzel, Larry M. China’s Nuclear Forces: Operations, Training, Doctrine, Command, Control, and Campaign Planning. Carlisle: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2007.

Wu Riqiang. “Why China Should Be Concerned With U.S. Missile Defense.” The Center for International Strategy, (2012): 1-19.

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