In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, we are joined by David Logan and Phil Saunders, who’ve recently co-authored a new report titled Discerning the Drivers of China’s Nuclear Force Development: Models, Indicators, and Data. They lay out the six models developed in the report and explain which models are the most compelling for explaining China’s behavior. Dr. Logan dives into the expansion in size, structure, and capabilities of China’s nuclear stockpile in the last 10 years but highlights the fact that there has been no official announcement on China’s reasoning for this build-up. In the context of this expansion, Dr. Saunders points out that China is showing signs that its nuclear strategy could be shifting, and he notes that the prospects of strategic arms control have become more complicated.
In this episode, Dr. Hans Kristensen joins us to discuss China’s nuclear policy, nuclear weapons capabilities, and nuclear doctrine. Dr. Kristensen assesses the significance of Beijing’s no-first-use policy and compares China’s nuclear arsenal with those of other major powers. He also explains potential factors that may lead China to increase its nuclear arsenal and alter its current nuclear strategy in the future.
China is one of only nine countries that possess nuclear weapons. Although its nuclear arsenal is small relative to those of the United States and Russia, China is currently expanding and modernizing its nuclear forces. As China faces evolving security challenges, Beijing may also revise its primarily defensive nuclear strategy.