Chinese evolving approaches to nuclear “war-fighting”: an emerging Intense US-China security dilemma and threats to crisis stability in the Asia Pacific

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Abstract

This article argues that current passive and static conceptualizations of Chinese approaches to nuclear and conventional deterrence are no longer appropriate. Recent evidence indicates that these postures are far more integrated, flexible, and dynamic than Beijing’s official rhetoric suggests, and that during the past decade a de facto shift toward a limited nuclear war-fighting posture has already taken place. By applying an International Relations (IR) structural-realist lens to conceptualize a relatively under-researched discourse that relates to recent indications that China is contemplating the deployment of nuclear weapons for war-fighting (or victory-denial) purposes. A radical doctrinal shift of this kind (or even the perception of one) could presage a paradigm shift in China’s long-standing nuclear posture and the nuclear balance in Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-232
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Security
Volume15
Issue number3
Early online date5 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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