What are the Implications of China as an Emerging Nuclear Power

Essay by emhs98College, UndergraduateA-, October 2008

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IntroductionThe People's Republic of China has been an emerging nuclear power since its first nuclear explosion conducted in October of 1964. Since then China's nuclear stockpile has remained comparatively small with respect to that of the United States and Soviet Union. Long ago China's nuclear supply couldn't detect incoming missiles, had an undeveloped nuclear control system and command, and slow preparation launch times for its missiles. These factors contributed to China's vulnerability to a first strike by both superpowers. However, most recently China has attained 20 long-range nuclear missiles with sufficient range to reach continental United States. China's "four modernization program" has given the military the lowest priority, but nuclear weapons are considered separately and have been given the highest priority of all military programs since 1992 . Because China's nuclear modernization program is expected to continue, its second-generation nuclear force will be deployed over the next 10-15 years as a more mobile, reliable and accurate force then it currently is.

These nuclear achievements in the PRC continue to cause great anxiety within the international system. This is particularly because uncertainty exists about China's nuclear capabilities and strategic intentions. However, it will be proven that although many factors support China's nuclear capabilities as posing a threat to the international system, the PRC does not to intend to harm the world, as it is relatively a small nuclear power with rational security concerns ands sound interests in maintaining world peace .

China's Justifications on the Need for Nuclear CapabilitiesTo understand Chinese perspectives on nuclear arms, it is necessary to discuss the Chinese rationale for acquiring a militarily effective nuclear force. China has suffered a long legacy of occupation by foreign forces. The PRC's bitter experience of foreign intervention and traditional self-image of being at the center of the universe dictated that...