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The Security Index Occasional Paper Series Came Out With The New Report «Prospects For The Development Of China’s Nuclear Forces: Ideological Approaches And Understanding Of Strategic Stability» By Vladimir Nezhdanov

December 14, 2021

MOSCOW, DECEMBER 14, 2021. PIR PRESS. The Security Index Occasional Paper Series came out with the new report «Prospects for the development of China’s nuclear forces: ideological approaches and understanding of strategic stability» by Vladimir Nezhdanov.

The beginning of the policy of reforms and openness in the PRC in the late 1970s led, among other things, to the inclusion of Chinese specialists in the international dialogue on nuclear weapons. However, it should be noted that the dialogue between Chinese experts and their Western colleagues is ineffective. Among the reasons are the difference in the terminology of the parties, differences in views and paradigms. At the same time, amid the escalation of Sino-American contradictions, there is an increase in distrust associated with the modernization and strengthening of the PRC’s nuclear forces. In particular, Lieutenant General of the U.S. Air Force T. Bussiere, who serves as the deputy commanding general of U.S. Strategic Command, said that China will soon become the main nuclear threat to the US, pushing Russia into the background. At the same time, the key challenge in this situation is that Beijing and Washington do not have mechanisms to prevent mutual misunderstanding. Within the framework of this research paper, an attempt is made to describe the position of the People’s Republic of China in the field of nuclear weapons and to characterize Beijing’s thinking in understanding strategic stability.

Key findings:

  • The following factors influence the formation of China’s behavior in the international arena: Marxism, dialectical materialism, the importance of economic development, the actualization of traditional culture for political purposes, avoidance of joining formal unions, attentive attitude to their own historical experience and to the experience of other countries as analogies, as well as the so-called “Xi Jinping Thought”.
  • A fundamental aspect of the perception of China’s foreign policy is the provision of “fundamental interests”. In this regard, the restriction on the supply of dual-use technologies to the country and/or China’s complete ban on their access can be considered as an encroachment on the prospects of development, including nuclear forces and the country’s defense capability.
  • In China, it is generally believed that nuclear deterrence and readiness to conduct an offensive policy are indistinguishable.
  • Despite threats to start increasing the country’s nuclear potential, there are no concerns about Beijing’s involvement in an arms race in order to achieve parity with Moscow and Washington. Nevertheless, the collapse of the INF Treaty and the escalation of the U.S.-Chinese confrontation may force Beijing to increase its nuclear arsenal in order to level its capabilities in the event of an armed conflict.
  • “Ensuring security with Chinese specifics” implies a comprehensive perception of the security problem. In this regard, the dialogue between Moscow and Beijing on strategic stability requires the involvement of not only diplomats and military personnel but also other specialists, which will allow achieving the maximum level of mutual understanding.

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