China and Global Nuclear Order: From Estrangement to Active Engagement
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This book offers an empirically rich study of Chinese nuclear weapons behaviour and the impact of this behaviour on global nuclear politics since 1949.
China's behaviour as a nuclear weapons state is a major determinant of global and regional security. For the United States, there is no other nuclear actor -- with the exception of Russia-- that matters more to its long-term national security. However, China's behaviour and impact on global nuclear politics is a surprisingly under-researched topic. Existing literature tends to focus on narrow policy issues, such as misdemeanours in China's non-proliferation record, the uncertain direction of its military spending, and nuclear force modernization, or enduring opaqueness in its nuclear policy. This book proposes an alternative context to understand both China's past and present nuclear behaviour: its engagement with the process of creating and maintaining global nuclear order.
The concept of global nuclear order is an innovative lens through which to consider China as a nuclear weapons state because it draws attention to the inner workings --institutional and normative-- that underpin nuclear politics. It is also a timely subject because global nuclear order is considered by many actors to be under serious strain and in need of reform. Indeed, today the challenges to nuclear order are numerous, from Iranian and North Korean nuclear ambitions to the growing threat of nuclear terrorism. This book considers these challenges from a Chinese perspective, exploring how far Beijing has gone to the aid of nuclear order in addressing these issues.
ability to promote, but also frustrate, global nuclear order. Conclusion For the past two decades, the study of contemporary China has been predominantly forward-looking, focused on the implications of its rise for 44 Michael D. Swaine, ‘Perceptions of an Assertive China’, China Leadership Monitor, No. 32, Spring 2010. 45 Christensen, ‘The Advantages of an Assertive China’, p. 59. 46 Alastair I. Johnston also rejects the idea of an ‘assertive turn’, see ‘How New and Assertive is China’s
Department of State. Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, ‘Anticipatory Action Pending Chinese Communist Demonstration of a Nuclear Capability’, Top Secret Memorandum, 13 September 1961, China and the US Collection, No. CH00006, via DNSA. Migliore, Celestino H.E. MSGR, ‘Nuclear Weapons Contravene Every Aspect of Humanitarian Law’, Intervention by the Holy See at the First Commission of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly of the UN, New York, 16 October 2007,
warfighting strategy demanded a sharp shift in Chinese strategy, with potentially negative implications for foreign relations with nuclear and non-nuclear states. In addition, if warfighting was the guide for modernization there was a lot of work to do. As yet the PLA had none of the systems required for such a strategy.49 In summary, in the 1990s China focused on modernizing its nuclear arsenal beyond the basic capabilities deployed in the 1980s so as to secure a more credible second strike
Global Nuclear Order to Kent, ‘under Sha’s guidance, China’s policy also became more clear-cut and consistent [whereas] before it was divided by inter-agency fights’.90 Closely linked to concerns about its economic development and international image, foreign pressure acted as a driver for China’s engagement. Of all China’s foreign relations, Sino–US relations were the most important. For Medeiros, ‘US policy intervention played a significant and enduring role in fostering China’s increasing
was more inclusive and appealing to non-nuclear states. In the post-detonation phase, the perceived challenges that China’s nuclear test posed for proliferation—especially that it might have a domino effect in the region—provided added urgency and pressure for the superpower model to emerge as the basis of nuclear order. In the end, China’s test did not result in the nuclearization of the region. However, China’s test had additional implications: Beijing validated nuclear order by seeking