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Nuclear Conflict in the 21st Century: Reviewing the Chinese Nuclear Threat

Scott Moore

Undergraduate Research Assistant, East Asia Nonproliferation Program


The last few years have witnessed growing concern over China's nuclear weapons posture. A succession of United States government reports[1] have expressed alarm over the evolving Chinese nuclear doctrine, as well as the modernization of nuclear forces. This interest has been paralleled by a vibrant discussion in the media, particularly within the United States. Prominent in this discussion have been concerns over the increasing capabilities of China's nuclear weapons, and possible revisions to China's long-standing pledge not conduct a first strike using nuclear weapons[2] (the so-called "No First Use" doctrine or bu shouxian shiyong).

Despite the tumult, there is broad consensus among experts that the concerns generated in this discussion are exaggerated. The size of the Chinese nuclear arsenal is small, estimated at around 200 warheads;[3] Jeffrey Lewis, a prominent arms control expert, claims that 80 is a realistic number of deployed warheads.[4] In contrast, the United States has upwards of 10,000 warheads, some 5,700 of which are operationally deployed.[5]

Even with projected improvements and the introduction of a new long-range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, the DF-31A China's nuclear posture is likely to remain one of "minimum deterrence."[6] Similarly, despite concern to the contrary, there is every indication that China is extremely unlikely to abandon its No First Use (NFU) pledge.[7] The Chinese government has continued to deny any change to the NFU policy, a claim substantiated by many Chinese academic observers.[8] In sum, then, fears over China's current nuclear posture seem somewhat exaggerated.

This document, therefore, does not attempt to discuss whether China's nuclear posture poses a probable, general threat to the United States; most signs indicate that even in the longer term, it does not. Rather, it seeks to analyze the most likely scenarios for nuclear conflict. Two such possible scenarios are identified in particular: a declaration of independence by Taiwan that is supported by the United States, and the acquisition by Japan of a nuclear weapons capability.

Use of nuclear weapons by China would require a dramatic policy reversal within the policymaking apparatus, and it is with an analysis of this potential that this brief begins. Such a reversal would also likely require crises as catalysts, and it is to such scenarios, involving Taiwan and Japan, that this brief progresses. It closes with a discussion of the future of Sino-American nuclear relations.

The Chinese Policymaking Apparatus and the Nuclear Option

China's leadership has today achieved broad consensus that the nation's interests are best served by a stable and peaceful international environment.[9] This has given rise to the strategy of "peaceful development" (heping fazhan) often emphasized by Chinese officials. Given the consensus towards moderation in foreign and security policy, and its embodiment in overarching national policy, there is much to suggest that the use of nuclear weapons against the United States, in whatever situation, would be anathema to China's decision makers.

The new generation of Chinese leaders, which has risen to power in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident (liu si), has tended to consist of moderate technocrats,[10] who are unlikely to support radical policy reversals, such as the use of nuclear weapons. Chinese politics in general have also evolved into a "more pragmatic, risk-adverse" form.[11] This process was initiated by the rise of "interest group politics" during the tenure of President Jiang Zemin.[12]

This new structure of decision-making involves the specialization of bureaucratic institutions, which have become more assertive, and occasionally resisted high-level decisions they believed to be ill conceived.[13] It is probable that certain institutions, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, would strongly resist the actual or threatened use of nuclear weapons against the United States in almost any situation. In a risk-adverse policy environment that seeks consensus, this kind of strong opposition may well prevail.

It thus appears unlikely that any impetus for the use of nuclear weapons in a conflict with the United States would come from within the established Chinese policymaking apparatus. There are suggestions, however, that pressure for the actual or threatened use of nuclear weapons against the United States may come from outside China's policymaking elite, via a phenomenon that may be termed "hyper-nationalism."[14] The gradual expansion of freedom of speech in China has revealed some truly radical nationalistic perspectives, ranging from a kind of Chinese lebensraum (sheng cun kong jian)[15] to allegations of a kind of racist plot in Western policy towards China.[16] In a crisis situation, there are suggestions that such hyper-nationalism may exert significant pressure on policymakers to respond with an aggressive response, which could include nuclear weapons.

Chinese nationalism, informed by a perceived history of subjugation and humiliation by foreign powers, has at times encouraged violent reaction to perceived injustices perpetrated on China, particularly by Japan and the United States. Surveys, which must be treated with some caution,[17] indicate that substantial majorities of educated young Chinese have strongly negative views of Japan and the United States.[18] This latent "oppositional nationalism" was manifested by militant responses to events such as the 1999 U.S./NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by US forces. One survey of university students indicated that resulting violent protests were genuinely popular, with a surprising 64% of those surveyed having participated.[19]

These violent responses seem to have been accompanied by pressure on the Chinese government to mount aggressive foreign policy responses to the offending countries. One analyst has suggested that popular anti-Americanism after the 1999 bombing contributed to China's tough stance during the 2001 EP-3 spy plane standoff with the United States.[20] Likewise, popular dissatisfaction with the government's moderate stance towards Japan may have led the government to adopt a more aggressive stance in its negotiations over disputed territories.[21] Violent hyper-nationalism, inflamed by crisis situations, thus seems to be able to exert some significant influence on foreign policy.

This influence, however, should not be overestimated. China's political system limits the extent of popular participation, and elite interests predominate. Joseph Fewsmith and Stanley Rosen, in their analysis of domestic influence on Chinese foreign policy, have concluded that Chinese public opinion is likely to exert effective pressure on foreign policy only when elite cohesion is low, and when public opinion mirrors some elite perspectives.[22] It thus appears that the most likely scenario for radical policy reversal, including nuclear weapons use, would involve the formation of a power nexus. This nexus may exert significant pressure to mount an aggressive response to foreign policy crises. In any conflict involving nuclear weapons, this could have significant implications for escalation and actual use.

Militant hyper-nationalism could coincide with elite interests in a number of ways. One, suggested by Kenneth Lieberthal and Michel Oksenberg in their classic study of the Chinese bureaucracy, is that in a period of reform and openness to the outside world, which China is currently experiencing, concern over growing "foreign" influence may precipitate a hard-line reaction.[23] Another is that a more professional military,[24] increasingly focused on core national security interests, might advocate a vigorous response if it believed these were at risk.[25] There are some indications that such a process occurred during the 1996 Taiwan crisis involving the United States.[26]

The general process of nexus formation as suggested here is illustrated, in simplified and abstracted fashion, in Figure 1 above. In response to a crisis situation, elite nationalist and popular hyper-nationalist interests converge, forming the nexus. This nexus marginalizes moderate interests, (as denoted by the dashed line) enabling it to formulate radical policies. This illustration greatly simplifies the process of policymaking and the diversity of interests within the Chinese government, but is intended to illustrate how radical policy, such as actual or threatened use of nuclear weapons, may be formulated.

The possibility of nuclear weapons use seems low given general trends and developments within the Chinese policymaking apparatus. Nonetheless, there appears to be some non-trivial possibility for radical changes in foreign and security policy, a prerequisite to the use of nuclear weapons. Given the gravity of nuclear conflict, this possibility appears worth of attention. Such a situation would seem to require the formation of a nexus of elite and popular hyper-nationalist interests. This nexus would in turn most likely require a crisis as catalyst. This brief now turns to an analysis of two scenarios that may serve as such catalysts: conflicts with the United States involving Taiwan and Japan's acquisitions of nuclear weapons.

China's Open Wound: The Taiwan Issue

In July 2005, a Chinese general, Zhu Chenghu created a media firestorm in the United States by claiming that, if the United States employed precision-guided munitions against China in a conflict over Taiwan, China may be prepared to "respond" with nuclear weapons.[27] General Zhu's speech to a group of foreign journalists appeared to echo earlier statements made by another Chinese general, Xiong Guangkai, as well as those of a prominent academic, Shen Dingli.[28]

This kind of "nuclear chauvinism" has mostly been discounted, if only because of the deficiencies of Chinese nuclear weapons and the unlikelihood they would survive a retaliatory attack by the United States, either by conventional or nuclear means.[29] However, there is also a widespread belief among analysts that China would be apt to abrogate its NFU pledge in a major crisis, particularly involving Taiwan.[30] This important qualification to consensus on the integrity of the NFU policy crisis reflects a central truth: the deep resonance of the Taiwan issue to Chinese nationalism, and the determination at nearly all levels that Taiwan must not be allowed to become an independent nation.

A conflict that threatens the unity of the Chinese state is one of the few scenarios in which hyper-nationalism may come to exert a significant influence on national policy, by virtue of the deep resonance of the Taiwan issue. There are many bureaucratic interests concerned with Taiwan, not least of which is that of the military, which considers reunification to be one of its central missions, and which deems unity essential for the survival of the Chinese nation.[31] The Foreign Ministry, normally more moderate, is similarly uncompromising in its insistence that Taiwan is a part of China, reserving the right to use force, and stating explicitly that "self determination for Taiwan is out of the question."[32] The grave importance with which these interests view Taiwan means that in a conflict situation, they may well advocate the threatened or actual use of nuclear weapons to prevent defeat.

Furthermore, there are many indications that consensus within the Chinese general public broadly echo elite nationalist sentiment on the Taiwan issue. Many academic discussions of a Taiwan conflict use aggressive language, including exhortations that in a conflict situation, "giving up halfway absolutely cannot be allowed."[33] This strain of opinion seems to be closer to that expressed by General Zhu. Although it is difficult to gauge true popular opinion, discussion on Chinese websites further suggests there may be widespread support for the actual or threatened use of nuclear weapons in a Taiwan conflict.[34]

Thus there appears to be potential for hyper-nationalism to arise both among elite interests and the public at large in a Taiwan crisis, opening the possibility of a hyper-nationalist nexus such as was described in the preceding section. This nexus would exert significant pressure to mount an aggressive and "all-out" response to a Taiwan conflict. As one analyst has noted, any conflict in the Taiwan Strait would be one between American, Chinese, and Taiwanese nationalisms.[35] Resurgent nationalism could "inflame" such a conflict, and moderates such as President Hu Jintao may face extreme pressure to assert Chinese strength, possibly involving nuclear weapons.[36] As one Chinese analyst has noted, in such a conflict between moderates and radicals, "historically it has always been safer to be on the more nationalistic side."[37]

It is worth emphasizing that even if such a nexus were to develop, it would almost certainly require the prospect of imminent defeat to galvanize policymakers to consider use of nuclear weapons. Such a policy need not involve a nuclear strike per se; indeed, given the moderating factors within the Chinese policymaking apparatus described above, it is more likely to involve the threatened or demonstrative use of nuclear weapons. This could nonetheless result in escalation.

Debate is widespread within the Chinese military about the threshold for "acceptable nuclear use."[38] France has in recent years explored a number of new strategies for the use of nuclear weapons, including firing a nuclear "warning shot" over unpopulated areas, (in a Taiwan conflict this might be over the ocean to threaten U.S. carrier battle groups) or a high-altitude nuclear airburst, creating an electromagnetic pulse intended to incapacitate electronic systems.[39] There are several indications that Chinese strategic planners are thinking along similar lines for use against U.S. forces.[40]

It is difficult to imagine that, if these kinds of strategies were employed, the United States would not strongly consider retaliatory action, perhaps by mounting precision strikes on Chinese nuclear weapons infrastructure.[41] This is precisely the scenario envisioned by Shen Dingli in his advocacy of making exceptions to the NFU policy in certain circumstances. Further speculation enters the realm of pure conjecture, but the threat of escalation in a major Taiwan crisis nonetheless appears to be substantial.

There is yet one more factor to consider in a Taiwan conflict, and this is Japan. Taiwan was a Japanese colony from 1895-1945, and its influence there remains noteworthy: former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui was educated in Japan, and maintained a largely pro-Japanese stance.[42] Furthermore, some Chinese academics have said that warm Taiwan-Japanese ties will challenge China's core interests.[43] This added dimension is important not only in the context of a Taiwan conflict, but also in terms of the possibility for Sino-Japanese conflict.

China's Asian Rival: A Resurgent Japan

The depth of Chinese nationalist sentiment towards Taiwan has a parallel, though not an exact one, in anti-Japanese feeling. Like the Taiwan issue, these feelings run both deep and broad in Chinese society. The memory of Japan's invasion during the Second World War is particularly poignant; one 1996 survey reported that the word "Japan" made 81.3% of Chinese youth think most easily of the "war of resistance against Japanese aggression."[44] The strength of anti-Japanese sentiment suggests that the Chinese government may take an aggressive stance on major increases in Japan's military capability in general, and the acquisition of nuclear weapons in particular.

Anti-Japanese nationalism has been described as "the stomach-burning passion of Chinese patriots."[45] In April 2005, large protests erupted in many Chinese cities after United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged a plan intended to give Japan a permanent seat on the Security Council.[46] An online petition that allegedly garnered 42 million signatures in opposition to a permanent Security Council seat for Japan[47] suggests the popular resonance of these protests. Additional protests were organized in a grassroots, popular campaign largely conducted via the Internet, a feat accomplished because of the strength of anti-Japanese sentiment.[48] This phenomenon is particularly notable because much of this online protest occurred without direction by the government; an example is Japanpig.com, which simply features a sword piercing the Japanese flag.[49]

This hyper-nationalism is at odds with official policy, most particularly with regards to the Diaoyu/Senkaku, a group of islands claimed by both China and Japan in the East China Sea. One internal Chinese government poll suggested that 82% of mainland citizens opposed the government's policy towards Japan and favored a more aggressive one.[50] The gap between popular opinion and elite policy suggests that under current circumstances a hyper-nationalist nexus is unlikely to form between elite and popular interests. However, if Japan pursues a policy of nuclearization, these circumstances may change. It also bodes ill for the cause of moderation in the case of conflict.

Some already regard Japan as a "de facto nuclear weapons state" because it possesses stockpiles of plutonium, the necessary technological base to produce nuclear weapons, and because it possesses advanced space launch technology that could easily be applied to intercontinental ballistic missiles.[51] Furthermore, although Japan has a strong political tradition renouncing nuclear weapons, there are some signs this may be changing. In April 2002, Ichiro Ozawa, the leader of Japan's opposition Liberal Party, warned that "if China gets too inflated, the Japanese people will become hysterical," and claimed it would be easy for Japan to produce nuclear weapons.[52]

Although the Chinese Foreign Ministry response to Ozawa's statements was muted,[53] there appears to be some perception that Japan is embarked on a long-term path of aggression towards China. In an article published in the Shanghai Journal of Social Studies, one analyst claimed that "all-out strategic precautions against China have become one of the main contents of Japan's strategy towards China."[54] If such a policy were seen to threaten China with Japanese nuclear weapons capabilities, hyper-nationalist elite and popular interests may converge to advocate an aggressive response.

Despite the depth of anti-Japanese sentiment, there is no direct link between a nuclearized Japan and a nuclear conflict with China. Thus the threat of a nuclear-armed Japan is more one of instability. Given the resonance of anti-Japanese feeling, there may be significant potential for a hyper-nationalist nexus to form against Japan than against the United States, including the threatened use of nuclear weapons. Acquisition of nuclear weapons by Japan would probably at a minimum induce Chinese decision makers to reconsider the NFU policy, particularly if Japan also acquired a ballistic missile capability.

Any such situation would also involve the United States. The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security obligates the United States to "act to meet the common danger" in the event of an attack on Japanese territory.[55] Chinese analysts, moreover, emphasize strong U.S.-Japan ties,[56] suggesting that were a conflict to develop, all parties expect the involvement of the United States. The implications of any such conflict are enormous, involving as it would three of the world's most powerful militaries, all of which, in this scenario, would have a mature or putative nuclear weapons capability. The specter of this kind of confrontation is worth considering as one contemplates the future of Sino-American relations in the nuclear context.

Conclusions: Sino-American Nuclear Futures

The Sino-American relationship is likely to be increasingly important as the twenty first century progresses. Its nuclear dimension is of tremendous gravity not only in the context of this broader importance, but in its own right as a reflection of changes in Chinese domestic power relationships, and how China sees itself in the world at large. The danger of hyper-nationalist influence on nuclear posture, while subject to many uncertainties and constraints, is real enough. The American reaction to Chinese nuclear force modernization has tended to emphasize developments in weapons systems themselves, or sensationalized accounts of headline grabbers such as General Zhu. However, the prospects for an actual nuclear confrontation under all but very extraordinary circumstances are low. More attention should be paid to how such circumstances may develop.

This brief has presented an overview of influences on Chinese security and foreign policymaking, and suggested that hyper-nationalism may pose a severe nuclear threat in the event of a Sino-American conflict over Taiwan or in the event of Japanese nuclearization. It is important to remember that in this sense we are dealing in possibility, not probability. The grave nature of nuclear weapons, however, is such that even possibility is worthy of great attention. The real potential for a catastrophic situation involving hyper-nationalism and nuclear weapons depends on the actual strength of moderate elements within influential sectors of Chinese society. Though there are many indications to suggest that in a crisis hyper-nationalist right wing perspectives would gain an upper hand, this depends heavily on circumstances.

Given such uncertainty, the strength of the "nuclear taboo" is likely to be a decisive factor in the risk of a catastrophic conflict. One major factor in contemplating the actual or threatened use of nuclear weapons has been evolving perspectives that marginalize this nuclear taboo. In the West, at least, one legacy of the Cold War was a popular notion that the use of nuclear weapons, however small or in whatever situation crosses a terrible threshold, the consequences of which are too dire to contemplate. Some Western observers have begun to question whether the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction remains relevant given American nuclear supremacy.[57] There are signs that this debate has also influenced some Chinese elites, bringing into question China's nuclear policy and force posture.

The future course of the nuclear dimension to the Sino-American relationship may well depend largely on this evolution in perspective. Indeed, questions over the continued prevalence[58] of the "nuclear taboo" take place in the broader context of great changes in the global nonproliferation regime. Mistrust in China generated by the Indo-U.S. Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in particular is likely to take some time to dissipate. A global trend towards more aggressive, "use-oriented" nuclear doctrine bodes ill for the Sino-American nuclear future.

On the other hand, a policy of comprehensive engagement[59] with China offers the potential to minimize nuclear tension and rivalry. This approach would emphasize confidence building measures between all levels of the U.S. and Chinese militaries, as demonstrated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's unprecedented visit to the headquarters of China's strategic missile forces.[60] The choice between these opposing policy directions is grave, affecting what are in many ways the world's two most powerful nuclear-armed states. In this context, American policy towards China should be well informed by an understanding of the dangers posed by Chinese hyper-nationalism in terms of nuclear conflict.


[1] See in particular the "Final Report of the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on US National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China" [commonly known as the Cox Report], especially Chapter 4, www.house.gov; and "Annual Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2006," www.defenselink.mil.
[2] See, for example, Ann Scott Tyson, "Pentagon finds China fortifying its long"range military arsenal," Washington Post, A17, May 24, 2006.
[3] Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, "Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2006," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 62. no. 3 (2006): 61.
[4] Jeffrey Lewis, "The ambiguous arsenal," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 61, no. 3 (2005): 52.
[5] Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, "Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2006," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 62. no. 3 (2006): 61.
[6] See Yunzhu Yao, "Chinese Nuclear Policy and the Future of Minimum Deterrence," Strategic Insights, 4, no. 9 (2005): 1.
[7] For an analysis, see Stephanie Lieggi, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, "Going Beyond the Stir: the strategic realities of China's No First Use policy," Nuclear Threat Initiative, www.nti.org.
[8] See "Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing: China will uphold 'No First Use' doctrine," Xinhua, July 21, 2005, FBIS [In Chinese], via CNS Database, http://cns.miis.edu; Zhongguo He Xie, "Our New Nuclear Weapons Adhere to No First Use Pledge," Zhongguo He Xie, http://chinahexie.org; and Zhenqiang Pan, "China's Insistence on No First Use," China Seurity, no. 1 (2005): 5.
[9] Nan Li. "PLA Conservative Nationalism," in The People's Liberation Army and China in Transition, ed. Stephen Flanagan and Michael Marti, 68 (Washington, DC: National Defense University, 2003).
[10] Li, ibid., 76.
[11] Michael Swaine and Ashley Tellis, Interpreting China's Grand Strategy: past, present, and future (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2000), 107.
[12] David Shambaugh, Modernizing China's Military: Progress, problems, and prospects(London: University of California, 2002), 49.
[13] Lu Ning, "The Central Leadership, Supraministry Coordinating Bodies, State Council Ministries, and Party Departments" in The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform, ed. David Lampton, 59 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2001).
[14] Allan Whiting has articulated a similar phenomenon, which he calls "aggressive nationalism." See David Lampton, Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing US "China relations, 1989" 2000 (Berkeley, CA: University of California, 2001): 256.
[15] John Garver, "China's Push Through the South China Sea: the interaction of bureaucratic and national interests," China Quarterly, no. 132 (1992): 1018.
[16] Song Qiang, et al., China Can Say No [Zhongguo Ke yi Shuo Bu] (Beijing: Zhongguo Wen Lian Chu Ban, 1996): 3.
[17] The polls quoted here may exaggerate negative responses, as each was prompted by major news events. For other limitations, please see the cited author's description.
[18] Joseph Fewsmith and Stanley Rosen, "The Domestic Context of Chinese Foreign Policy: Does 'public opinion' matter?" in The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform, ed. David Lampton, 161"162 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2001).
[19] Quoted by Li Hongshan, "Recent Anti"Americanism in China: Historical roots and impact," in Yufan Hao and Lin Su, eds., China's Foreign Policy Making: Societal force and Chinese American policy (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005): 52.
[20] Li, op cit., 59.
[21] Fewsmith and Rosen, op. cit., 163.
[22] Ibid., 155.
[23] Kenneth Lieberthal and Michel Oksenberg. Policy Making in China: Leaders, Structures, and Processes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1988), 405"406.
[24] See Keith Crane, et al., Modernizing China's Military: Opportunities and constraints (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2005), 161"163; and Shambaugh, op. cit., 49.
[25] Cynthia Watson, "The PLA and the Taiwan Issue," in The People's Liberation Army and China in Transition, ed. Stephen Flanagan and Michael Marti, 212 (Washington, DC: National Defense University, 2003).
[26] Michael Swaine, "Chinese Decision"Making Regarding Taiwan, 1979"2000" in The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform, ed. David Lampton, 321"322 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2001).
[27] See Joseph Kahn, "Chinese General threatens use of A"bombs if US intrudes," The New York Times, A8, July 15, 2005, late edition, Proquest, via FBIS, www.opensource.gov.
[28] See Shen Dingli, "No First Use of Nuclear Weapons," Shanghai Dongfang Zaobao,May 29, 2006, FBIS [In Chinese], via CNS Database, http://cnsinfo.miis.edu.
[29] Yao, op. cit., 1.
[30] See Evan Medieros, quoted by Jonathan Adams, "China's Nuclear Arsenal Upgrade," Taipei Times, 9, August 22, 2005.
[31] Li, op. cit., 70.
[32] State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, "The Taiwan Question and Reunification of China," Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China," www.fmprc.gov.cn.
[33] Zhibo Lin, "New Academic Analysis: Will there be an all"out US intervention in a Taiwan Strait war?" Renmin Wang, July 20, 2004, FBIS [In Chinese], via CNS Database, http://cnsinfo.miis.edu.
[34] See Jian Fuchi, "Are China's Nuclear Forces a Sufficient Deterrent Against the United States?" [In Chinese], Red Fox Military Affairs World, www.redfox88.com.
[35] Zhidong Hao, "Between War and Peace: the role of nationalism in China's US policymaking with regards to Taiwan," in China's Foreign Policymaking: societal force and Chinese American policy, ed. Yufan Hao and Lin Su (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005): 152.
[36] This scenario has been envisioned by Christine Cleary, "Culture, Strategy, and Security" in China's Nuclear Future, Paul Bolt and Albert Willner, eds., 32 (London: Rienner, 2006).
[37] Hao, op. cit., 152.
[38] Stephen Polk, "China's Nuclear Command and Control," in China's Nuclear Force Modernization, ed. Lyle Goldstein and Andrew Erickson, 11 (Newport, RI: Naval War College, 2005).
[39] See The Acronym Institute, "Chirac Reasserts French Nuclear Weapons Policy," Disarmament Diplomacy, no. 82 (2006): 1.
[40] Ting Wai, "The Potential Flashpoint: Taiwan" in China's Nuclear Future, Paul Bolt and Albert Willner, eds., 153, 159 (London: Rienner, 2006).
[41] It is interesting to note that some Chinese analysts perceive the danger of miscalculation from the American side. See Huafei Qiu, "The Development Trend in Sino"US Strategic Relations in the New Century," Shehui Kexue, February 20, 2006, FBIS [In Chinese], via CNS Database http://cnsinfo.miis.edu.
[42]Friedman, op. cit., 96.
[43] See "Liaowang Interviews PRC Scholars on Strategic Clashes between China and Japan," Liaowang, 17"19, August 15, 2005, FBIS [In Chinese], via CNS Database http://cnsinfo.miis.edu.
[44] Fewsmith and Rosen, op. cit., 162.
[45] Edward Friedman, "Chinese Nationalism: Challenge to US Interests" in The People's Liberation Army and China in Transition, Stephen Flanagan and Michael Marti, eds., 96 (Washington, DC: National Defense University, 2003).
[46] "New Protests Ahead of Japanese Foreign Minister's Visit," Agence France Presse, April 17, 2005, FBIS, via CNS Database http://cnsinfo.miis.edu.
[47] Xinhua, "42 Million People Oppose a "Permanent" Japan," [4200 wan ren fan Ri Ben 'ru chang'] Xinhuanet, http://news.xinhuanet.com.
[48] "PRC Websites Call for Large-Scale Weekend Protests Against Japan," Agence France"Presse, April 14, 2005, FBIS, via CNS Database http://cnsinfo.miis.edu.
[49] See www.japanpig.com.
[50] Fewsmith and Rosen, op. cit., 162.
[51] Frank Barnaby and Shaun Barnie, Thinking the Unthinkable: Japanese nuclear power and proliferation in East Asia (Oxford, UK: Oxford Research Group and Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, 2005): 7"8.
[52] John de Boer, "Reaction to Ozawa's Statement on Japan's Nuclear Capability," Japanese Institute of Global Communications Weekly Review, no. 43 (2005): 1.
[54] Qiu, op. cit., 6.
[55] Asia for Educators, "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan," Columbia University, http://afe.easia.columbia.edu.
[56] Qiu, op. cit., 5.
[57] Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, "The End of MAD? The Nuclear Dimension of US Policy," International Security, 30, no. 4 (2006): 7.
[58] "Prevalence" is used here in a general sense, though admittedly the strength of the nuclear taboo among Cold War policymakers is debatable. President Eisenhower and many senior US strategists, for example, seemed to view nuclear weapons as simply new tools in the warrior's arsenal, rather than as terrible Swords of Damocles.
[59] One articulation of such a policy comes from Henry Kissinger, "China: Containment Won't Work," The Washington Post, A19, June 13, 2005.
[60] See Ann Scott Tyson, "Rumsfeld to Make Official Visit to Beijing," The Washington Post, A6, October 15, 2005.


In this 2006 article, Scott Moore analyzes China's nuclear posture in the regional context and speculates about a future nuclear dimension to the Sino-American relationship.

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