China was the fifth state to join the nuclear club in 1964, and the last to do so before the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was agreed. This chapter sets out the genesis of the Chinese nuclear weapons programme and explains how thinking has evolved from the 'socialist proliferation' of the 1960s to China becoming a key player in 'orthodox' global nuclear order by the 1990s. It looks in more detail at the major components and dynamics that underpin Chinese nuclear thinking and strategy, particularly the commitment to 'minimum nuclear deterrence', the policy of no first nuclear use, and China's relations with key nuclear institutions. The chapter looks at recent Chinese nuclear modernisation and considers the key drivers of this change and reviews the new and evolving missions for Chinese nuclear forces. It considers the new questions being raised about the no-first-use pledge and increasing doctrinal ambiguity and examines the possible implications for future US– China relations, regional stability and escalation.
|Title of host publication||Nuclear Politics in Asia|
|Editors||Marzieh Kouhi Esfahani, Ariabarzan Mohammadi|
|Place of Publication||London, UK|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Aug 2017|