Strategic Analysis

Strategic Analysis:
A Monthly Journal of the IDSA

March 2000 (Vol. XXIII No. 12)



Chinese Nuclear Doctrine
By Savita Pande *


On October16, 1964, China exploded the first atom bomb, on October 27, 1966, it conducted the first successful missile trial test; on June 17,1967, the country exploded the first hydrogen bomb. In 1958, Special Artillery Corps was built, then on July 1,1966, the Second Artillery Corps was officially established with the approval of the Central Military Committee. The Second Artillery Corps today is a well-trained strategic missile corps with a certain level of nuclear counterattack capability. 1

China decided to build nuclear weapons mainly because of two reasons. First, they believed that their alliance with the Soviet Union did not provide adequate security; and second for a self-reliant strategy of dissuasion by nuclear deterrence or dissuasion by conventional defence. The Sino-Soviet treaty of alliance signed in 1950 was mainly a Chinese attempt to protect itself from the threat posed by the other superpower, namely the United States. The Korean War and the Taiwan crises in 1954 and 1958 made the Chinese realise the fallacy of this approach. Khrushchev’s attempts to promote cooperation with the western world and confront the US only when Soviet vital interests were threatened, was evident in the muted and belated Soviet support for China when it faced U.S. coercion during the 1958 Taiwan Straits crisis. The decision to reduce their dependence on a potentially irresolute ally saw the birth of the Chinese nuclear weapon. 2

The second reason why the Chinese developed the bomb was a realisation that a self-reliant strategy of dissuasion would better serve China’s national interests than the alternatives of dissuasion by conventional deterrence or dissuasion by conventional defence, mainly because of the resource constraints it faced.

However, the foundation of the Chinese nuclear programme which was built with heavy Soviet assistance, was laid out in the 1957 Sino-Soviet Agreement on New Technology for National Defence. Under that, the Soviet Union agreed to supply China with a prototype of an atomic weapon and related technical data. Also, Moscow agreed to assist in the construction, training and operation of a gaseous diffusion plant in Lanzou to produce enriched uranium-235. Soviet assistance to China’s nuclear effort deepened considerably under this agreement. 3 The Sino-Soviet split abruptly ended this programme. The withdrawal of Soviet technical expertise and financial assistance severely hampered the rapid development of the Chinese programme. As Yeu–Farn Wang says, “Once the Soviets suddenly pulled out, the PRC was left high and dry to manage projects conceived and executed under Soviet tutelage. Left with only prototypes, the Chinese had no choice but to reverse engineer them, a process that took years.” 4

Research projects on ballistic missiles were integrated under one command, whose goal was to strengthen China’s national defence through the development of a nuclear arsenal. China stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the nuclear powers in the context of nuclear doctrine. For instance, for almost three decades after China exploded its first nuclear weapon, there was no coherent, publicly articulated nuclear doctrine. 5 Lewis and Xue have gone to the extent of saying that the Chinese nuclear weapons development was largely driven by technology and the need to hit specific targets, but not specifically by doctrines. 6 Very few specialists were assigned to specifically think about nuclear doctrine in the early years of development of Chinese weapons. As shall be discussed subsequently the Maoist military discourse about “People’s War” and active defence was designed to portray China as a defensively oriented power, an image that would have suffered adversely had it tried to copy the other nuclear powers.


People’s War

Born of necessity when facing superior enemy forces, the people’s war doctrine requires the classical strategic withdrawal, trading space for time, in order to lure the enemy deep into one’s territory and force it to overextend its supply and communication lines. It requires strong political will. 7 Peoples War, says Freedman, involved galvanising the revolutionary spirit of the masses and using this to military and political effect. 8 In this the military sphere was subordinate to political. The main military task was not to hold territory but to gain time for the masses to be mobilised and to bring their weight to bear. At the same time enemy forces were to be depressed and demoralised, never allowed to enjoy their advantage in equipment in a pitched battle, but to be drawn into a country, with lines of communication extended. The doctrine assumes that the enemy forces are stronger and more powerful than China’s and therefore China should avoid a decisive battle with the enemy at the very beginning. The best way for China to proceed would be to muster superior forces several times bigger than the local enemy where they could be bogged down in endless skirmishes and eventually drowned in a human sea. When the People’s army becomes superior enough to confront and defeat the enemy in pitched battles, the last phase of the war—the strategic offensive begins. The transformation of the enemy’s strength into weakness is one of the special features of Mao’s strategic thinking. The doctrine is based on mobilisation of the entire populace and resources till the enemy retreated. Mao provided the formula, “the enemy advances, we retreat. The enemy advances, we harass; the enemy retreats, we pursue”. 9

In both the moderate and extreme versions of People’s War, the response to the nuclear bomb was the same: it had to be assessed in terms of the impact on morale of the guerilla army and those masses in the process of being mobilised. The Maoist view was that the destructiveness of nuclear weapons ought not to be exaggerated lest the masses be demoralised. The view was best expressed by describing the nuclear weapons as paper tigers, basically highlighting the outwardly strong, inwardly feeble aspect. Not only was it stated that the weapons were not for use but also the fact that they were inappropriate for guerilla warfare. The assumptions were that even if an attack was launched on China there was very little it could do except resort to civil defence and concealment. Second, while the attack would wreak havoc on China’s industrial centres, it could not destroy rural China. Since China was predominantly rural, it could not be subjugated by nuclear strikes.

As long as the Chinese did not have nuclear capability, they had little choice but to fall back upon people’s war as a universal response to all major military threats. Ellis Joeffe says their reliance was on extremely dubious premises. The first was that the enemy would launch an all-out nuclear attack on China as a prelude to a ground invasion of the mainland. The second and even more unrealistic premise was that a massive ground invasion to conquer China would follow a nuclear strike. Also highly questionable was China’s professed readiness to abandon densely populated centers to an invader in order to “lure the enemy in deep”. 10

The first known challenge to Mao’s doctrine came in the wake of the Korean War. The lesson learnt by PLA commanders was that Maoist doctrine was no substitute for modern weapons and organisation. 11 The doctrine of people’s war was periodically criticised by the military as dated and detrimental to the armed forces. The initial pronouncements were highly cautious. The most striking example of doctrinal tightrope walking was an article by General Su Yu which introduced the term “people’s war under modern conditions” in which he made a case for studying and mastering “tactics developed alongwith new technology equipment”. 12 It was Deng Xiaopeng who performed the difficult job of linking the Maoist ideology for reasons of legitimacy while departing from it for practical purposes. 13


People’s War Under Modern Conditions

As China changed its policy from People’s War to People’s War under Modern Conditions, the most significant change in policy was the fundamental shift in emphasis from not only “defending ” but also to winning wars. Especially, China’s nuclear deterrence which had originally been planned for self defence, underwent a major shift and began to rely on credible second strike capability. This new thinking also saw the improvements in missile accuracy and survivability of China’s nuclear weapons. 14 However keeping in mind that the Chinese capabilities were still inferior to those of the two superpowers, the option to fall back on the original Maoist thinking of people’s war was retained in China’s new doctrine which sought to combine “nuclear deterrence with strong mass support”. 15

The People’s War Under Modern Conditions, promulgated in 1959, lasted until the late 1970s. Lewis describes the revision of People’s War as:

The revision of the concept depended on three assumptions. First, the military concluded that a future war would be large scale and employ sophisticated weapons. Second, the war would inevitably escalate, making China the main battlefield. Finally, at the beginning of the war, the enemy would possess superior arms. The war would be prolonged and costly, but in the end the “the people would prevail.” 16

These assumptions and the revised concept persisted until altered by Deng. Even under the new profile, keeping in mind the popular appeal of Mao’s military thought, the Deng regime did not completely discard the essence and spirit of his military thought. It retained the basic nature of People’s War doctrine allowing for changes in operational sub-principles. The human factor continues to be of paramount importance and the crucial elements like use of protraction, mass mobilisation and defensive defence were retained in the new national security doctrine. 17 However, the weapons factor featured much more prominently. Among the more decisive shifts in emphasis were the new interpretations that came to be attached to China’s traditional doctrine of Active Defence which included Admiral Liu Huaqing’s “Offshore defence” strategy, discussed a little later.

According to Liu, this new concept of People’s War (under modern conditions) consists of two parts: conventional defence plus minimum nuclear defence. Whether to lure the enemy deep into one’s own territory or not depends on the balance of forces between China and the enemy. The role of minimum nuclear deterrence is very limited: to deter nuclear attack by foreign countries, and, if that fails, to retaliate against nuclear attack. 18


Active Defence

Like other aspects of Chinese strategic thought, Active Defence has also seen newer interpretations. Mao had defined Active Defence as a doctrine of “Offensive Defence “ or a doctrine of deterrence through decisive engagement which prescribed the strategic defence and the tactical offensive”. Nevertheless, its operational sphere had China’s proverbial “yellow earth” as Mao did not conceive navy or air force as China’s offensive power projections. 19 Defeat of China in Vietnam and the redefinition of China’s military thinking linked to the rise of Deng Xiaoping saw the modification of the concept of Active Defence. It was however, in 1982 that China’s third navy commander, Admiral Liu Huaqing became the first to publicly present his “offshore defence” strategy that extended Active Defence beyond the proverbial “yellow earth”. This new thinking was endorsed officially by the CMC in 1985 in the historic resolution called” Strategic Thoughts in the Guiding Thoughts on National Defence”. Although officially the doctrine continued to reiterate defence against foreign aggression from the sea. According to Admiral Liu Huaqing the strategy was aimed at evolving an operational doctrine as also the technical wherewithal for building Active Defence beyond China’s territorial seas. In early 1988 the party general secretary Zhao Zyang also introduced the “offshore development” strategy.

During the 1990s the Active Defense doctrine saw modifications. Among the three kinds of wars envisioned in the Active Defence doctrine, the Chinese do not believe that a world war or a long-term war against China is going to take place in the next 50 years. That leaves a border conflict or a limited war. 20 This is the belief around which China’s Active Defence Policy has been reframed. The Maoist concepts like “protraction”, “strategic retreat” for “luring the enemy deep” are no longer considered workable propositions. China’s new production centers being considered vulnerable, the emphasis has shifted towards “positional offence” or even “forward defence”. 21

According to James Lilley, “Active Defence” entails strategy of limited high tech war with weaker neighbours on China’s periphery, especially maritime periphery. An integral part of this strategy is the establishment of a defensive zone around the heart of China, an island chain or perimeter extending from the Spratly Island and anchored in Korea in the north. Within this “zone of active defence”, China plans to be a dominant power. Current Chinese strategy seems to be the one in which China will largely rely on “People’s War: to defend China proper and will use high technology weapons to support active defense.” 22

The Active Defence of People’s War Under Modern Conditions differs from the Maoist concept in: seeking to defeat the enemy close to the borders rather than luring him deep, early battles rather than later ones were considered decisive, cities were to be defended rather than vacating them for vast rural areas as was advocated by Mao, positional war was stressed as much as Mao’s mobile war and finally, deterrence through denial was to be supplemented by deterrence through retaliation.


Limited Local War Under High Tech Conditions

Active Defence is now complemented with sinews of prediction, preemption and even coercion, which have come to form China’s new war-fighting doctrine of Limited Local War under High Tech Conditions. This doctrine is based on the premise that in the immediate future, China must prepare for fighting low-intensity conflicts which would be small, intense and far more frequent due to the growing strength of the regional powers located around China’s borders. 23 The main features of the doctrine are: limited strategic targets and need for quick decisions vis-à-vis combat targets, high technology and low force levels, sudden breakout of wars after confrontation, the surface area is limited but the battlefield actual space is three-dimensional, the forces are efficient and prone to change. 24

China’s Limited Local War doctrine not only relies on the methodology of Offensive Defence of People’s War under Modern Conditions, but also believes in preempting the enemy before he actually strikes. It requires the PLA to keep the operations short to be conducted in restricted war zones away from China’s shores or confined to border territories. 25 In a Limited War, according to Chinese strategists, the premium will be on speed and overwhelming military superiority in order to defeat enemy forces early and decisively. It will require an ability to concentrate firepower on the enemy’s own local air, naval, and missile forces. The Chinese thus have come far from the Maoist concept of People’s war where “politicisation”, “mass mobilisation”, “protraction” form the cardinal principles in its conventional operations. The operations, however, are defensive, but again they are not what the fourth cardinal principle says, “essentially defensive”. Unlike the Western concept, the Chinese Limited War, however, does not completely discard People’s War, which remains their doctrine during the period of transition as the debates on strategy are still going on. People’s War remains the last resort in case their limited wars escalate beyond their means. The Chinese do not see capability to fight a total war as a precondition to fight Limited War. Besides it is also extendable to its internal strategies. Thus the “Chineseness” of the Limited War can be seen in more ways than one. In any case the Chinese are sensitive to borrowing doctrines from others.


Nuclear Doctrine

Two aspects of the Chinese attitudes towards nuclear weapons are worth noting. First, Chinese politicians and strategists agreed that in addition to buying self-esteem and status, nuclear weapons have a general military utility. Second , Chinese strategists were unable to reconcile nuclear weapons and Mao’s doctrine of people’s war, discussed above. Until the early 80s there was no strategic research in China and no direct linkage of nuclear weapons to foreign policy. Earnest efforts to come up with a nuclear strategy suitable to China, a medium sized nuclear power like that of Britain and France, began in the mid-80s.

Some Chinese scholars feel that the doctrinal ambiguity was deliberate, designed to keep the political adversary guessing about the form, timing, targeting of Chinese nuclear attack in retaliation. Goldstein has cited a Chinese officer saying that retaliation could take place over days, weeks or months after initial strike. 26 Whatever may have been the reason, Chinese writing on nuclear weapons was for a long time virtually non-existent, and, as a corollary, provided room for flexible interpretation. Thus the descriptions range from minimum deterrence to Soviet warfighting thinking to a hybrid doctrine with Chinese characteristics.

The late evolution or revelation of the nuclear doctrine notwithstanding, the Chinese leadership always understood the military value of nuclear weapons as well as their importance for China in the great power politics. This was implied in the politburo speech by none other than Mao Zedong himself in which he had said, “If we are not to be bullied in this world, we cannot do without the bomb”. 27 In 1958, he is reported to have said, “As for the atomic, bomb, this big thing, without it people say you don’t count for much. Fine then we should build some”. 28 In the 1960s and 70s, for instance , acquisition decisions were driven by the desire to hit specific countervalue and soft counterforce targets. 29 This faith in nuclear weapons did not and has not wavered since. In 1983 Deng Xiaoping described the basic deterrent value of nuclear weapons by saying “You have some (nuclear missiles) and we also have some. If you want to destroy us then you yourself will receive some retaliation”. Even after Deng’s strategic decision in 1985 that China no longer had to prepare to fight an early large-scale and nuclear war and even after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the perception of military role of nuclear weapons has not changed. In a meeting organised by the General Staff Department’s Chemical Defense Department, attended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Nuclear Industry, Ministry of Health, the Operations and Intelligence Department, Academy of Military Sciences and the National Defense University, it was decided that since other states were developing nuclear and chemical weapons a nuclear war could not be completely ruled out. Despite the decision of 1985, Chinese troops had to be prepared to fight under nuclear and chemical warfare conditions.

It was around 1987 that the Strategic Missile Forces (Zhanlue daodan budui), for instance began a research programme on nuclear campaign theory that focussed on a range of topics including the character and form of a nuclear counter-attack, the command and control of nuclear weapons, and the defence and survivability of nuclear weapons. Johnston says there has been a relative proliferation of writing on nuclear doctrine, deterrence theory and the role of nuclear weapons in the emerging world of high-tech limited warfare from units attached to the General Staff Department, the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) and the Navy among others. Under the name of limited deterrence, the concept that emerges is that of limited nuclear warfighting. 30


Limited Nuclear War

During the Cold War, Chinese analysts expressed concern about how the strategic environment may encourage limited nuclear war. They argued that the presence of the nuclear gap between great powers was ideal for limited nuclear wars since the balance of terror may keep the United States and the Soviet Union from direct confrontation, though it may not stop either of them from attacking non-nuclear weapon states. Chinese analysts predicted that membership in the nuclear club would increase to 23 (including Brazil, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Japan, Vietnam, and South Korea) by the year 2010. 31

Discussions in this vein continued into the post-Cold War period. PLA Major General Wi Jianguo argued, for instance, that the emergence of high tech weaponry has not replaced the position and role of nuclear weapons. Especially after the Gulf War, some military powers stepped up their research and production of new types of nuclear weapons geared to local war conditions. General Wu noted that though these nuclear war weapons have considerable destructive power, the possibility of using them will not be negated. 32


Minimum Vs Limited Deterrence

It must be stated at the outset that there is a massive debate in China on the precise nature of the Chinese nuclear doctrine. Various authors have given their assessment of what they think the Chinese nuclear doctrine is. Chinese, according to Johnston, make a clear difference between limited deterrence and minimum deterrence as well as maximum deterrence. Arguing a case for limited deterrence which lies inbetween the two, it is argued that while minimum deterrence implies the ability to drop small number of nuclear warheads on a handful of countervalue targets in a second strike, maximum deterrence is a term used to describe the counterforce warfighting doctrines of the United States and the Soviet Union of the 1980s. The latter is denounced as a doctrine of hegemonistic powers. Minimum deterrence has been criticised as inadequate to deter anything more than a countervalue first strike. 33 A limited deterrence on the other hand, means having enough capabilities to deter conventional, theatre and strategic nuclear war, and to control and suppress escalation during a nuclear war, thereby responding to any kind or level of attack, from tactical as well as strategic. 34 However, James Sands says, “small number of nuclear weapons in the Chinese military limits their ability to have a counter-force strategy. Consequently, the Chinese have adopted a strategy of minimum deterrence. 35 Since the Chinese nuclear forces cannot compete with the superpowers in either technological or numerical terms (e.g. accuracy), China has to rely on raising the cost to a nuclear aggressor by ensuring that their force has a survivable retaliatory capability. China must give the perception that they have the will to use nuclear forces, their forces are survivable, and there is a command and control apparatus in place for rapid retaliatory execution. The nuclear deterrent is advertised but the operational strategy is not. This is an important principle that needs to be emphasised: deterrence strategies need to be advertised, whereas the strategy for use depends on withholding intelligence as to one’s true intentions and places high value on deception. 36

To improve credibility and survivable retaliatory capability of their nuclear arsenal, the Chinese emphasise mobility and pre-launch survivability. 37 The route to accomplish this is also rooted in the Chinese art of war. Sun Zip put forward the aphorism, “the essence of war is but the art of ambiguity”. 38 Sun-Tzu stated that “warfare is a matter of deception—of constantly creating false appearances, spreading disinformation, and employing trickery and deceit”. 39 To protect the Lop Nor testing site against the reconnaissance of overflying superpower satellites, six identical-looking bases were constructed in the area. According to Lin, to effect ambiguity in perception, routine concealment is punctuated with selective and deliberate revelation. 40 The Chinese missiles are otherwise concealed in man-made caves, but are occasionally deliberately exposed to satellites or their pictures are published in defence magazines. 41

Paul Godwin and John J Schulz say that China’s overall strategy is designed to preclude nuclear blackmail. The idea is to create a countervalue (city busting) deterrent of sufficient size and range to guarantee that no enemy planner could use force, or threaten to use it, without the certain knowledge of Chinese retaliation at a level sufficient to make the costs too high. 42

Limited Deterrence, as stated above, entails development of enough capabilities to deter conventional, theatre and strategic war and to suppress escalation during a nuclear war. This requires a sufficient range of weapons and operational capabilities, especially to respond to any level of attack. The response need not be one-to-one matching of technical capabilities, merely enough to raise the cost of war dramatically for the adversary. A recognisable, realistic ability to fight and inflict sufficient counterforce and countervalue damage and if that fails, it assures an ability to prevent enemy victory. Implementing a limited deterrence strategy is said to require the following weapons.

  1. A greater number of smaller, more accurate, survivable, and penetrable intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs);
  2. SLBMs to serve as retaliatory force;
  3. Tactical and theatre nuclear weapons to hit battlefield and theatre military targets and to suppress escalation.
  4. Ballistic missile defence to improve survivability of the limited deterrent, as well as to defend key military command centres and national facilities;
  5. Space-based early warning and command and control systems; and
  6. Anti-satellite weapons to hit enemy military satellites. 43

In a Carnegie Endowment study, Ming Zhang says that during the interviews conducted by the author in October 1998 in Beijing, a number of nuclear scientists and senior diplomats confirmed that China remains committed to maintaining sufficient nuclear forces to provide “limited nuclear deterrence”. Zhang says China’s limited war strategy and doctrine of limited deterrence have been in place for about a decade, during which China has not built a nuclear force, rather a force focussed on powerful, high precision weapons with a high rate of survivability. 44

Making an analysis on the basis of capabilities Meltov et al have concluded, “there is a mismatch between China’s limited-deterrence doctrine and its actual nuclear capability. This is why He Zuoxiu, a well known physicist and strategist has emphasised that without altering minimum nuclear security, China’s nuclear deterrent should be based on limited nuclear retaliation against the soft targets of an enemy. He claimed support for his view from numerous specialists in many fields whose views were solicited by the top party leaders. In all likelihood, despite the call of Chinese strategists for nuclear doctrinal innovation, nuclear strategic doctrine will remain minimum deterrence until the requirements for limited deterrence can be met, probably early in the twenty-first century. 45

Liu says that minimal nuclear deterrence is compatible with China’s strategic culture. 46 Lin has emphasised the “Chineseness” of the nuclear doctrine in which China has shown minimalism, ambiguity, flexibility, and patience in which there is a small pro-triad but deliberate ambiguity about targeting and launch doctrine. 47

According to Goldstein, some Chinese strategists reject the term deterrence as a description of what Chinese nuclear forces were supposed to do in theory. Even today some Chinese strategists insist that China does not practice deterrence but adheres to a doctrine of “defence”(fangyu) or ‘self-protection’ (zi Wei). 48


No First Use

At the time of its first nuclear weapon test, China publicly espoused a nuclear no-first use (NFU) pledge. China’s no-first pledge is: “We will not attack unless we are attacked: If we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack. China will counterattack only if the enemy uses nuclear weapons first. 49 China’s pledge of no-first use implies a recognition that it would be suicidal to provoke a nuclear war, since China is incapable of eliminating a nuclear-armed enemy’s weapons even if China were to carry out a nuclear first strike. The NFU pledge also implies that China would not use nuclear weapons in the event it was attacked by far superior conventional forces. It can be argued that there is no country in the world that can easily overcome China using a conventional military force and that China, with its vast territory and numerous military personnel, does not have to fear an attack by conventional forces. Mel Gurtov and Byong-Moo have argued that continuing to support the no-first pledge might be perceived as weakening of China’s limited deterrent. But, in fact, China has utilised the pledge to assist the deterrent. 50 In 1994, the leaders of China and Russia issued a joint statement rejecting the first use of nuclear weapons against each other and agreeing not to target their missiles at each other. Chinese hopes for securing a bilateral no-first use pledge with the United States has not paid any dividends. 51

Currently, the Chinese lack the technical ability to detect an incoming first strike and “launch on tactical warning”. 52 On the other hand, Gurtov et al cite Chinese defense literature that contains hints of growing interest in launch on warning of nuclear weapons, or launch under early attack, both of which would scrap the pledge. 53 In a book compiled by the Strategy Department of the Chinese Academy of Military Science, the authors note: On the basis of general policy of second strike, the nuclear counterattack of the future will be implemented through a nuclear surprise attack. The first nuclear counterattack must strive to be an immediate retaliational, that is, react quickly, and rapidly implement a nuclear counterattack after determining the enemy’s missiles are coming, but before they have exploded. 54 Sometimes the discussion moves closer to the preemptive initiation of the nuclear strike on the first strategic warning that the other side is prepared to strike. This would be considered retaliatory, the flexible application of the “second strike” principle. 55

The Chinese policy towards Taiwan has an important bearing on the no first use policy. This is a flashpoint since it is here more than other places that the US and Chinese policy comes into direct conflict. In 1995 and 1996, the Chinese launched 10 CSS-6 (or M-9s) missiles off the coast of Taiwan. During the second round of missile launches, it was China’s strategic rocket forces, the Second Artillery that fired CSS-6 ballistic missiles. Until this point Second Artillery’s role had been strictly nuclear. This could be a new mission for Second Artillery. In this context it has been stated that, it is worthwhile to address as to how a no first use policy might fit with the Chinese regional goals. The Chinese delegate to the UN disarmament talks has asserted that since Taiwan is Chinese territory the Chinese no-first use pledge does not apply. “This is a signal of ambiguity in Chinese nuclear policy for areas China views as its sovereign territory”. 56



Since exploding its first nuclear device in 1964, China has conducted 45 nuclear tests. Its nuclear forces today include a triad of land-based missiles; bombers and submarine launched ballistic missiles, which collectively possess 350-450 warheads. Land-based missiles remain the strongest element of the present Chinese nuclear arsenal. China has about 20 DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with a striking range of 13,000 kilometers (8,100 miles). 57 It operates a single nuclear submarine (SSBN), the XIA, armed with 12 Julian –1 submarine launched ballistic missiles (Slbms) with a range of 1,700 kilometers (1,000 miles).

Within China’s nuclear triad, its airforce is the weakest element. The Chinese airforce has more than 100 medium range H-5 and H-6 bombers, some of which are nuclear capable. With a flying range of more than 3,000 kilometers, the H-6 can reach all Asian countries, but its capability to penetrate air defence systems is poor. The H-7, the first supersonic and the only modern bomber in China, is being developed by the Xi’an Aircraft Company. This all-weather bomber will be capable of carrying out nuclear missions for the Chinese air force and navy. 58

As for intermediate-range and long-range missiles, in addition to the DF-5s, China has at least 10 DF-4 land based missiles with a striking range of 4,700 kilometers; 38 DF-3 and DF-3A missiles with striking ranges of 2,650 and 2,800 kilometers; 30 DF-21 and DF-21A missiles with striking ranges of 1,700 and 1,800 kilometers, respectively.

China has exported short range DF-11 missiles to Pakistan. These have a striking range of 280 kilometers and are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. On the whole, the Chinese strategic nuclear force includes 20 ICBMs, 80 IRBMs, 120 nuclear capable bombers, and 12 SLBMs. 59

China does not have a sufficient number of accurate, survivable warheads or a wide enough range of delivery vehicles to engage in limited warfighting. It does not have the space based early warning or command, control, communication and intelligence capabilities necessary for commanding limited warfighting operations. 60


Tactical Weapons

According to Chong-Pin Lin, although China was interested in developing these weapons during the infant stages of the nuclear programme, theatre nuclear weapons were on a lower priority than the development of heavy weapons and their means of delivery. 61

There is no evidence that China has developed tactical nuclear weapons, although tests of low-yield fission devices either for tactical purposes or for triggering larger fusion explosions have been conducted. Data published in Nuclear Weapons Databook indicate that China has conducted at least 12 underground or atmospheric nuclear tests with a yield below 20 kilotons, and the PLA may have developed a tactical capability in its larger caliber multiple rocket system as well as in 203mm gun. 62 According to the Databook, more than thirty percent of Chinese nuclear weapons are tactical. 63

According to Gregory Owens, critical turning points in the development of tactical nuclear weapons fall within 1972-79 and 1983-93. He adds that less than two decades after adding roughly 150 TNWs, PRC halted further tactical nuclear weapons production. 64

Johnston says that since the decline of the Soviet threat in the mid-80s and the Chinese military’s increasing interest in limited wars, research on limited war and tactical nuclear weapons has increased. Even if the war is conventional, it would be a war under nuclear conditions. Among the capabilities needed to fight limited border wars are theater and tactical missiles, including both cruise and ballistic missiles. In limited wars the premium will be on speed and overwhelming military superiority to defeat the enemy early and decisively. It will require an ability to fight enemy’s local, air, naval and missile forces. 65

Estimates of tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) stockpiles vary. In 1984 an U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency report said that there were none. A study by Natural Resource Defence Council claimed that there were around 100 weapons in 1984, and that by early 1990s a total of 150. 66 Chong Pin Li has claimed that in the late 1980s Chinese had tested very low yield warheads, suitable for tactical nuclear weapons. According to Lewis and Hua, as the result of a directive from Ministry of Space Industry in 1984 to focus on development of tactical missiles, the Chinese have developed short-range ballistic missiles (DF-15) which could be used for TNW delivery. 67

To date, neither the Chinese government nor the Chinese have acknowledged the existence of these tactical nuclear weapons.

Although Liu supports China’s NFU policy, he says, “If China were to adopt a first-use policy, it should also develop and deploy tactical nuclear weapons. It would be unwise, however, to fight a tactical nuclear war on its own territory, which might end up destroying China”. 68 His statement notwithstanding, the relationship between tactical weapons and first use is interesting.


Space Weapons

Considered to be an essential requirement under the Limited Deterrent concept, the Chinese need space-based early warning system to speed up the reaction time of its limited deterrent: ASATs to hit enemy’s military satellites, which are increasingly becoming important in directing nuclear as well as conventional campaigns; and space-based ballistic missile defence systems in order to increase the survivability of the Chinese nuclear forces. 69 China has a very active space programme and a desire to pursue an information dominance policy. China has either deployed, or plans to deploy, a number of satellites which will focus on radar, electronic and electro-optical intelligence gathering, missile early warning, navigation and weather. There are also plans for stealth radar, signal intelligence sites and tactical reconnaissance vehicles. 70

The need to incorporate space satellites and weapons as “strategic frontier” or “fourth leg of the triad”, as it is commonly called comes into sharp contrast with the official policy calling for ban on ASATs and preventing weaponisation of space. The Chinese space control programme, however, does not exclude the development of ground-based BMD. The Chinese list of destabilising BMD systems that should be banned include space, land, or sea-based weapons designed to attack “spacecraft”(not reentry vehicles or missiles) and space-based systems designed to attack objects in the atmosphere, land or at sea. Absent from this are ground based systems to attack objects. 71



One significant change is in the Chinese perception: the United States has replaced the Soviet Union as the primary long-term strategic threat. As part of the effort to increase their deterrent capability against the United States for future, the Chinese are modernising their ICBMs, MRBMs and SRBMs, and cruise missiles. This change in threat perception is also the central reason why China is incorporating solid-fuelled, road-mobile technologies into its ICBM force. ICBMs currently in the Chinese inventory that could threaten the United States are Silo-based, and China is probably concerned about their vulnerability to the high technology weaponry at the disposal of the United States.

In terms of total number of warheads, China is not expected to reach a rough parity with the level to which the United States and Russia had agreed in START II (3,500 and 3,000 respectively by 2003. China would like to see START III agreement that would bring US-Russian nuclear weapons down even lower, to, 1,000 or even few hundred warheads each. The “1,000 warheads or less” condition is reportedly now standard in Chinese strategic analysis 72 )

Lewis and Xue contend that there is a basic consensus that a considerable portion of China’s deterrent should go out to sea. 73 If China deploys 4-6 SSBNs in future so that two are at sea at a given time, with 12 missiles each, the next generation of SSBNs would add 48-72 warheads to the Chinese arsenal. If SLBMs are given multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs), this leg of the deterrent could still be built up using China’s existing fissile material stockpile. Guidance and accuracy are believed to be problems with the Chinese missiles.

The circular error probability CEP of the second generation missiles is believed to be one per cent of maximum range. Much of course depends upon accessibility of GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) technology to determine the point of launch of mobile missiles. Johnston thus concludes that “thus if the limited deterrence does act as a rough guide to R&D and acquisition decisions, there are no major technological barriers to the doubling, possibly tripling, of the size of China’s nuclear forces. Indeed much of the writing and the thinking on the doctrine would suggest that such an expansion does make sense.” 74

The Chinese have certainly concluded that their current nuclear capabilities are not enough for credible minimum deterrence. Improvements are required, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The current modernisation programme focuses on solid-fuel propellant technology, in order to enhance operational flexibility (reduced launch preparation time) and safety. Ongoing development and production programmes exist to improve land-based and submarine launched missiles, as well as bomber force survivability and strategic forces, develop less vulnerable basing modes, and make general improvements in accuracy, range guidance and control. China has been developing two new types of ICBMs. The DF-31 will be a three stage missile capable of carrying a 700-kilogram payload over 8,000 kilometers, making it able to reach Europe or Alaska (but not the continental United States) if launched from the Chinese soil. It was expected to be operationally deployed sometimes during the mid to late 1990s. There have been attempts to acquire multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles technology through the acquisition of Russian SS-18 missile components. The DF-41 is reportedly a solid-fuel, mobile, three-stage missile with a range of 12,000 kilometers which will allow rapid reaction and a MIRV capability. 75 It will replace DF-5A, which is scheduled to remain in service through 2010. The reported goal is for the deployment of 30 MIRV capable missiles in hardened shelters. 76 Like the DF-31, the DF-41 will probably be stored in caves during peacetime and moved to its pre-surveyed firing location during a crisis. 77

Survivability and secrecy are absolutely critical to retaining the deterrent capability of Chinese nuclear forces. This is the primary reason the Chinese nuclear forces are being modernised on such a large, wide-ranging scale. China does not plan to increase the number of forces but instead to increase the number of forces by enhancing their survivability.

At sea China may construct a fleet of four to eight vessels as the second generation of SLBMs. Plans call for the installation of sixteen Julan -2–type (CSS-N4), 8,000 kilometer range missiles on modified Xia-class vessels, ideally enabling PLAN to place one ship on patrol all the time. 78

The aviation element of the strategic triad will not be improved through the development of a strategic bomber. Nor can Chinese nuclear strategists reconsider balance between its land-based and sea-borne systems until such time as China has more operational SSBNs and can overcome weaknesses in surveillance and targeting techniques. At that point the PRC’s nuclear missile force would have a much higher survivability than at present, which would give it reliable second-strike capability. 79 According to Johnston, Chinese strategists debated between the relative priority for the two systems for Limited Deterrence. Some argued that most of the new missiles should be placed on the submarines. Others claimed that Limited Deterrence should rely on mobile land-based systems, making use of the smaller warheads and improved reaction times. 80

The Chinese Command Control Communications have a high priority for upgrading. As a result, there is a proposal to upgrade the limited communications capability provided by the current six communication satellites. China also launched a programme to design a space shuttle. The trial flight should take place in 2005 and will be launched from a site in Hainan Island. 81


China and Arms Control

Chinese views on arms control have come a long way. In the 1970s, Beijing condemned the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) I as “sham disarmament” providing a cover for continuation of US-Soviet arms race. 82 Its participation in the arms control agreement entailed Antarctic Treaty (1959), Outer Space Treaty (1967), Treaty of Tlatelolco and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (1983).

In the last decade, the Chinese have increasingly seen political and security benefits accruing from participation in the multilateral arms control negotiations and agreements. In 1985 it acceded to South Pacific Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga). China pledged in 1986 to abide by the Limited Test Ban Treaty prohibiting atmospheric nuclear tests, and it joined the NPT in 1992. In 1993 Beijing committed itself to sign the CTBT no later than 1996.In the fall of 1994 the Chinese Government agreed to participate in the fissile material production cut-off talks at the UN Conference on Disarmament. Beijing has introduced its own proposals on nuclear arms control at the United Nations. The Chinese have proposed a convention for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons, similar in form to the Chemical Weapons Convention. China has also called for a no-first use (NFU) of nuclear weapons treaty among the five declared powers, and negative security assurances (NSA) by the nuclear-weapon states that they will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. Since 1990 the Chinese have an agreement with Russia to pull back border forces and pledge NFU of nuclear weapons against each other.

Thus Banning Garrett and Bonnie Glaser who describe China’s arms control approach as “limited security interdependence” say that China has not only learnt the importance of nuclear weapons from the USA and the USSR but also that “continued arms competition and further qualitative enhancement of nuclear forces go hand-in-hand with arms control agreements”. 83

Chinese position on key arms control issues is as follows:

NPT: China threw its weight behind the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1991, after more than two decades of condemning the Treaty for discrimination against non-nuclear countries and failure to curb the nuclear arms expansion of superpowers sufficiently. Chinese Premier Li Peng announced in August 1991 during a visit by the Japanese Premier that China would participate in the NPT regime, and Beijing officially acceded to the Treaty in March 1992. The reversal of China’s position was the result of many factors, including the June 1991 decision by France, the only declared nuclear power that had not been an NPT member; Beijing’s post-Tiananmen desire to improve its image with the Western countries and to obtain economic assistance from Japan; the end of the cold war and Soviet US arms race. The Chinese supported the indefinite extension of the Treaty. Although they would have preferred a twenty-five year period extension, they were not in favour of the extension decision being put to vote. 84 That the Chinese reasons were other than non-proliferation was obvious from the fact that within 48 hours of the pledge to show utmost restraint at the Extension Conference, it conducted a nuclear test and subsequently supplied Pakistan with ring magnets for the latter’s enrichment programme in sharp violation of Article 2 of the Treaty.

CTBT: Agreeing to a Comprehensive Test Ban is significant considering it had a direct bearing on the Chinese nuclear warhead modernisation plans. The first indicated willingness to participate in CTBT negotiations came on September 29,1993 when Foreign Minister Qian stated that China wanted an early start of negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. 85 In a statement a week later, defending its nuclear test, China explained its position by dropping insistence that a test ban treaty could only be concluded within the “framework of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. 86 China’s official position backed conclusion of a “comprehensive, effective and universal nuclear test ban treaty as early as possible and no later than 1996”. 87 It thus reluctantly became a partner in CTBT negotiations which were convened in winter 1994 in the Conference on Disarmament. This became further evident as China pressed for inclusion of three controversial provisions: The right of declared nuclear weapon states to conduct peaceful nuclear explosions (PNEs); NFU and negative security assurances by the nuclear weapon states; and the primacy of international monitoring systems over the use of national technical means (NTM) of individual states for verification. China announced a temporary suspension after its last test in September 1996. China does not have a simulation capability but has asked about it. There are reports that Russia and France may have agreed to share the test ban in order to assist in simulation; secretly, the United States “may have as well”. 88

China has signed the CTBT and at the time of writing is believed to have put up the treaty to the congress for ratification. In March 1999 it told the Conference of Disarmament on March 26 that it would formally submit the CTBT to the National People’s Congress for ratification. (Disarmament Diplomacy, April 1999)

A CTBT would restrict China’s ability to develop a wider range of warhead designs, though not new delivery systems. It may also have an impact on Mirving of missiles.

FMCT: China reportedly ended its fissile material production for weapons in 1987.There are reports that the plutonium production for weapons has stopped as well. 89 China objected to a cut-off in 1994, to avoid becoming frozen in permanent inferiority to the United States and Russia; subsequently it agreed to work with the United States to achieve a global non-discriminatory cut-off. 90 China further moderated its position in favour of a cut-off in 1996. In October 1997, it agreed with the United States to pursue cut-off negotiations in the CD.

ABM: China opposes revision of Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow for expanded US and Russian BMD systems or TMD in Asia, which Chinese scientists maintain, would violate the Treaty. They contend that the technology for BMD and that for the TMD Treaty are identical and indicated concern that the Theatre High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system under development by the United States could be upgradeable to defense against strategic ballistic missiles, and thus could pose a threat to the viability of China’s deterrent. 91 The Clinton administration has proposed a TMD systems with a tested capability of hitting incoming warheads travelling at 5km/sec, or missiles with a roughly 3,000km range. This is the administration’s definition of a theatre missile although ABM Treaty operated under a 2-km/sec definition. This means 80 per cent of Chinese missiles would be classified as theatre weapons and if they can hit the strategic weapons as well, then China has cause to worry. 92

START: China has assiduously opposed any five-power strategic arms control negotiations. From 1982 to 1986 its position in the CD was that if the Americans and Soviets took the lead in reducing their arsenals by 50 per cent then China would join in multilateral strategic arms control talks. At the time the notion of 50 per cent reductions was not on superpower arms control agenda. This figure has been absent from the Chinese position since 1986(it appeared sporadically until 1988), replaced by a more vague condition that superpowers should carry out drastic reductions. 93


Doctrine Vs Capability

It can safely be said thus that China’s nuclear capacity is quantitatively and qualitatively small, making it vulnerable to either a US or a Russian first strike. Most Chinese strategists nevertheless reportedly believe their limited nuclear capacity has a deterrent effect on the superpowers. 94 They base their thinking on two interconnected ideas of western theory. One is that when the United States put forward the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) in the 1980s, with its promise of being able to shoot incoming missiles out of the skies, many people doubted the usefulness of the medium-sized nuclear powers to possess a small, technologically limited nuclear arsenal. The stability and balance of the present world power structure, these people said, would be destroyed. But practical experience during several years of SDI research has proved that relevant technologies for strategic missile defence are far from here. The Chinese military leadership therefore believes that the deterrence theory will remain valid for some time. Secondly, China’s nuclear weapon capability, though limited, provokes uncertainty among nuclear powers. They are in a position to destroy medium sized nuclear weapon powers but they themselves could not withstand a retaliatory blow of dozens, let alone hundreds, of nuclear weapons dealt by medium-sized nuclear powers. 95

In terms of one-to-one relationship, there is a gap in the theory and the capability required in the doctrine. Just over half of the Chinese ballistic missiles are liquid fuelled with reaction times of two hours or more, the CEP of DF-3 and DF-4, the mainstay of land-based force is 1,000 meters. With 300 strategic warheads the counterforce and countervalue targets realised in the doctrine cannot be hit. Nor does the central Command have the intelligence capability to determine the size of nuclear attack on China, a requirement to prepare for response. Not much is known about the General Staff Department’s plans in 1980, to set up a network to determine the time, place, type and yield of enemy nuclear explosion and assess radiation and damage levels. The PLA conducted exercises in mid-80s to train the SMF to launch under simulated nuclear war conditions, but it is difficult to say how far these matched the limited deterrence doctrine. It has no Ballistic Missile Defence or any space based systems, though in 1993 it purchased 4 batteries (100 missiles) of S-300 air defence missiles space based systems and related command technology from the Russians. 96 China has no air defence, no ASAT, and no early warning (it relies on phased array radars) capability. It is really difficult to say how far the Chinese capabilities are commensurate with the doctrine of Limited Deterrence. However, if the Americans go ahead with the deployment of Theatre Missile Defences (TMD) with an inherent capability of intercepting strategic warheads, 97 Chinese modernisation plans are likely to be speeded up.

Very little is available in terms of affordability of China’s limited nuclear deterrent. According to a study by the Natural Resource Defence Council, the nuclear forces absorb 3-5 per cent of China’s military expenditure i.e $1-1.5 billion assuming the military expenditure to be $30 billion. Although there is less spending on R&D since much of the testing has been done, and assuming one-to-one ratio in cost and force ratio, a jump to $3-4.5 billion per year is considered affordable, if overall growth remains 9-10 per cent per year. 98




*: Research Fellow, IDSA  Back.

Note 1: Major General Yang Huan, “China’s Strategic Nuclear Weapons”, Defence Industry of China 1949-89(Beijing: National Defence Industry Press, 1989 excerpted in Michael Pillsbury (ed.) Chinese View of the Future Warfare, (Institute for National Strategic Studies, 1990).  Back.

Note 2: Avery Goldstein, “Understanding Nuclear Proliferation: Theoretical Explanation and China’s National Experience”, in Zachary Davis and Benjamin Frankel ed., The Proliferation Puzzle: Why Nuclear Weapons Spread and What Results, (Frank Cass, 1993), p.226.  Back.

Note 3: John W. Garver, Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China, (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1993), p. 55.  Back.

Note 4: Yeu-Farn Wang, China’s Science and Technologyolicy: 1949-89,(Avebury Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, England, 1993), p.56.  Back.

Note 5: Alaistar Iain Johnston, “Prospects for Chinese Nuclear Force Modernization: Limited Deterrence versus Multilateral Arms Control” in David Shambaugh and Richard H. Yang ed. China’s Military in Transition (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1999), p.288.  Back.

Note 6: John Wilson Lewis and Xue Litai, China Builds the Bomb, (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1988), and China’s Strategic Seapower: The Politics of Force Modernisation in the Nuclear Age,(Stanford University, 1994)  Back.

Note 7: Liu Huaqiu, “No First-Use And China’s Security”, Stimson Centre’s, Electronic Essays on “Eliminating Weapons of mass destruction” at www., p.2.  Back.

Note 8: Lawrence Freedmen, Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (St. Martin’s Press, London, 1993), pp.274.  Back.

Note 9: Ralph Powell, “Maoist Military Doctrine”, Asian Survey, April 1968, cited in Ibid. p.275.  Back.

Note 10: Ellis Joffe, The Chinese Army after Mao, (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1987), p.74.  Back.

Note 11: Ibid., p.72.  Back.

Note 12: XINHUA FBIS August 8, 1977 pp.E/10-21  Back.

Note 13: Joffe, n.10,p.78.  Back.

Note 14: Gerald Seagal “Nuclear Forces ” in Gerald Seagal and W.T. Tow, ed. China’s Defence Policy, (Macmillian, London, 1984), pp.106-107.  Back.

Note 15: Ngok Lee, China’s Defence Modernisation and Military Leadership (Australia National University Press, 1989), p.133.  Back.

Note 16: John Wilson Lewis and Xue Litai, China’s Strategic Seapower: The Politics of Force Modernisation in the Nuclear Age,(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), and 211-214.  Back.

Note 17: Harlan Jencks “People’s War under Modern Conditions”, in Segal and Tow ed.,China’s Defense Policy,p.312.  Back.

Note 18: Liu, n.7, p.2.  Back.

Note 19: Mao Zedong, Six Essays on Military Affairs, (Foreign Language Press, 1972), p.50.  Back.

Note 20: Shulong Chu, “The PRC Girds for Limited High Tech War”, Orbis, Spring 1994, p.187.  Back.

Note 21: Ibid, p.186.  Back.

Note 22: James Lilley’s Paper in a seminar at Institute for National Strategic Studies in Hans Binnendijk and Ronald N. Montaperto, “Strategic Trends in China”, (INSS, 1998), p.2.  Back.

Note 23: Phillip L Ritcheson, “China’s Impact on Southeast Asian Security”, Military Review, May 1994, p.45.  Back.

Note 24: Ngok Lee, China’s Defence Modernisation and Military Leadership, (Australia National University Press, 1989), p.133.  Back.

Note 25: Ehsan Ehrari, “China’s Naval Forces look to extend Their Blue Water Reach”, Jane’s Intelligence Review, vol.10, no.4, April 1998, p.31.  Back.

Note 26: Avery Goldstein, “Robust and Affordable Security: Some Lessons from Second-ranking Powers During the Cold War”, Journal of Strategic Studies, vol.15, no.4, December 1992.  Back.

Note 27: Speech by Mao Zedong “On the ten Major Relationships”, on April 25, 1956, Selected Works of Mao Zedong, (People’s Publishing House, Beijing, 1977), p.288.  Back.

Note 28: Alastair Johnson, “China’s New Old Thinking : The Concept of Limited Deterrence”, International Security, vol. 20, no.3, p.8.  Back.

Note 29: John Wilson Lewis and Hua Di, “China’s Ballistic Military Programmes: Technologies, Strategies and Goals”, International Security, vol.17, no.2, Fall 1992, pp.5-36.  Back.

Note 30: Johnston, of course does not rule out the possibility that even these may not reflect total doctrinal ideas at formally classified levels. He also cites studies, which doubt if the conventional wars deter nuclear wars, Johnston , n.5, p.291.  Back.

Note 31: Zhaiand Guo, “We should not overlook the Threat of Limited Nuclear wars”, Jiefangjun Bao, September 11, 1987, p.22, Wang Zhidong, “Some Reflections on the Probability of Using Nuclear Weapons in Actual Combat”, Guofang Daxue xuebao November1, 1987, JPRS-CAR, July 1988, pp.51-52.  Back.

Note 32: Major General Wu Jianguo, “ The Nuclear Shadow in high tech Warfare cannot be ignored”, Zhongguo junshi kexue, n.o.4, (November20, 1995), in FBIS-CHI 96-076, April 18, 1996, pp.37-41.  Back.

Note 33: Johnston, n.5, p.287.  Back.

Note 34: Alastair Iain Johnston , “ China’s New Old Thinking”, International security, vol.20, no.3, p.19.  Back.

Note 35: James A Sands , “Evolution of China’s Nuclear Capability: Implications for US Policy”, a Paper published by the US Department of Commerce , National Technical Information Service, April 1995, p.11  Back.

Note 36: Rosita Dellios, Modern Chinese Defence Strategy, Present Developments, Future Directions, (St. Martin’s Press 1990), p.92  Back.

Note 37: John Lewis and Hua Di, “Chinese Ballistic Missile Programs: Technologies, Strategies and Goals”, International Security, vol.17, no.2. (fall 1992) p.25.  Back.

Note 38: Chong -Pin Lin, China’s Nuclear Weapons Strategy—Tradition within Evolution (Lexington Books, 1992, p.21.  Back.

Note 39: Ralph. D. Sawyer, The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China ,(Westview Press, 1993), p.155.  Back.

Note 40: Lin, n.38, p.62.  Back.

Note 41: Lin, n.38, p.69.  Back.

Note 42: Paul Godwin and John Schulz, “Arming the Dragon for the 21st Century: China’s Defence Modernisation Plans”, Arms Control Today , December 1993, p.6.  Back.

Note 43: Johnston, “China’s New Old thinking,” n.28, p.20.  Back.

Note 44: Ming Zhang, China ’s Changing Nuclear Posture, (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March1998, pp.5-6)  Back.

Note 45: Mel Gurtov and Byong-Moo Hwang, China’s Security: The New Roles of the Military (Boulder, London, 1998), p.129.  Back.

Note 46: Liu, n.7.  Back.

Note 47: Lin, n.38,China’s Nuclear Strategy.  Back.

Note 48: Goldstein, n.2.  Back.

Note 49: Zhang Jianzhi, “View on Medium sized Nuclear Powers’ Nuclear Strategy” from Jiefangjun Bao, March 20, 1987 in FBIS, April 1987, k33.  Back.

Note 50: Mel Gurtov, n. 45.  Back.

Note 51: R. Jeffery Smith, “Clinton Decides to Retain Bush Nuclear Arms Policy”, Washington Post, September 22, 1994.  Back.

Note 52: Michael Nacht, “Nuclear Issues”, in Binnendijk and Montaperto, ed, Strategic Trend in China.  Back.

Note 53: Mel Gurtov et al, p.12.  Back.

Note 54: Ibid., citing Academy of Military Science, Junshi zhanjule, pp.115-116; emphasis added.  Back.

Note 55: Chen Huibang, “Guanyu xin shiqi zhanlue fangzhen he zhidao yuanze wenti” in Guofeng daxue xuebao (National Defense University Journal), 1987-89, in Johnston, Chinese Nuclear Force Modernisation, p.294.  Back.

Note 56: Nacht, n.52, emphasis added.  Back.

Note 57: Robert Walpole’s presentation at the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, September 17, 1998 summarised in “New Declassified Report Of Ballistic Missile Threat”, Proliferation Brief, (Carnegie Endowment’s Non-Proliferation Programme, Washington D.C) vol.1, no.13, September 11, 1998.  Back.

Note 58: Norris Burrows and Fieldhouse, 1994, pp.365-368.  Back.

Note 59: Defence White Paper (Washington D.C.,Progressive Policy Institute), cited in Ming Zhang, n44.  Back.

Note 60: Johnston in Shambaugh, n.5, pp.294-95.  Back.

Note 61: Chong-Pin Lin, China’s Nuclear Weapon Strategy, n.38, pp. 78-81.  Back.

Note 62: Norris, Burrows and Fieldhouse, Eds, Nuclear Weapons Databook, pp.372, 420-21.  Back.

Note 63: Ibid, Table 1.7. p.11.  Back.

Note 64: Gregory B. Owens, “ Chinese Tactical Nuclear Weapons”, (Naval Postgraduate School Monterey California, 1989), p.3.  Back.

Note 65: Johnston, n.28, p.29  Back.

Note 66: Norris Burrows et al, p.371.  Back.

Note 67: John Wilson Lewis and Hua Di, “China’s Ballistic Missile Programme:Technologies Strategies and Goals”, International Security, vol.17, no.2, p.27.  Back.

Note 68: Liu, n.7, p.3.  Back.

Note 69: Johnston, n.28, p.23.  Back.

Note 70: Stephen P Aubin, “China: Yes, Worry About the Future”, Strategic Review(Winter 1998), p.19.  Back.

Note 71: See Working Paper, CD/579, March 19, 1985, p.1.  Back.

Note 72: Johnston, n.28, p.137.  Back.

Note 73: Lewis and Xue, Strategic Seapower.  Back.

Note 74: Johnston in Shambaugh, n. p.299  Back.

Note 75: Joseph C. Anselmo, “China’s Military Seeks Great Leap Forward”, Aviation Week and Space Technology, vol.146, no.20, May 1997, p.70.  Back.

Note 76: Richard Bernstein and Ross H Munro, The Coming Conflict With China (Alfred A. Knopf Inc New York, 1997), p.76  Back.

Note 77: In Yu, “Latest Development of CPC Missiles and Nuclear Weapons” Kuang Chiao Ching, no. 254 (November16, 1993), in FBIS-CHI 93-221, November 18, 1993, pp.48-50.)  Back.

Note 78: Hisashi Fujii, “Facts Concerning China’s Nuclear Forces, 2nd Artillery Corps and 09 Submarine Fleet”, Gunji Kenku (Military affairs Research, Tokyo), November 1995, FBIS-CHI 96-036, February 22, 1996, pp.33-39.  Back.

Note 79: Mel Gurtov and Hwang, p.131.  Back.

Note 80: Johnston, “China’s New Old Thinking”, p.20  Back.

Note 81: Viacheslav A Frolov, “China ’s Armed Forces Prepare For High-Tech Warfare”, Defence &Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, vol. 26, no.1, January 1998, p.7.  Back.

Note 82: Michael Pillsbury, Salt on the Dragon: Chinese Views of the Soviet-American Arms Balance, P-5374, (Santa Monica, Calif:RAND Corporation, February 1975)  Back.

Note 83: Banning N. Garret and Bonnie S. Glaser, “Chinese Perspectives on the Nuclear Arms Control”, International Security, vol.20, no.3, Winter 1995/96, p.74.  Back.

Note 84: Beijing Review, vol.36. no.41, October 11-17, 1993, p.10.  Back.

Note 85: The Arms Control Reporter 1998, p.608, A5.  Back.

Note 86: PRC Government statement, October 5, 1993, cited in “Beijing Defends Nuclear Test, Calls for a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty”, FBI Trends FB-TM93-040, October 6, 1993, p.44.)  Back.

Note 87: Statement by Ambassador Hou Zhitong, to the first committee of the UN General Assembly, October 1994.  Back.

Note 88: The Arms Control Reporter 1998, p.608A.5.  Back.

Note 89: Lisbeth Gronlund and David Wright, “Beyond Safeguards”, Union of Concerned Scientists, May 1994.  Back.

Note 90: Lisbeth Gronlund, David Wrightand Yong Liu, “China and a Fissile Material Production Cut-off”, Survival, vol.37, no.4 (Winter1995-1996), pp.147-67.  Back.

Note 91: Banning N. Garret and Bonnie S. Glaser, “Chinese Perspectives on the Nuclear Arms Control”, International Security, vol.20, no.3, Winter 1995/96, p.74.  Back.

Note 92: Johnston, p.310.  Back.

Note 93: Alaistar Johnston, “Learning Vs Adaptation: Explaining Arms Change in Chinese Arms Control Policy in the 1980 and 1990s”, The China Journal, January 1996.  Back.

Note 94: Mel Gurtov and Byong -Moo Hwang, China’s Security: The New Roles of the Military (Boulder, London, 1998), p.124.  Back.

Note 95: Ibid.  Back.

Note 96: Kenneth Allen, Glenn Krumel, and Jonathan D. Pollack ,China’s Airforce Enters 21st Century, (Santa Monica, RAND, 1995), p.157.  Back.

Note 97: Lisbeth Gronlund, George Lewis, Theodore Postol, and David Wright, “Highly Capable Theatre Missile Defense and the ABM Treaty”, Arms Control Today, vol.24, no.3 (April 1994) pp.3-8.  Back.

Note 98: Cited in Johnston, n.5, p.300, Also see Richard A Bitzinger and Chong Pin Lin, “Off the books: Analysing and Understanding China’s Defense Spending”, Paper presented at 5th annual conference (AEI) on the People’s Liberation Army, Stanton Hill, VA, June 17-19, 1994, p.6.  Back.