Earlier this month, the Pentagon released its annual China military power report to Congress. The report details the People’s Republic of China’s rapid progress in modernizing, diversifying and expanding its nuclear arsenal, and observes that China may already have a nascent nuclear triad. These revelations follow China’s hypersonic weapon tests this summer. For many observers, these developments denote a departure from Beijing’s longstanding approach to nuclear weapons, which was predicated on a “no-first use policy” and maintenance of a small arsenal to accomplish minimal deterrence through assured retaliation.
Professor of Asia-Pacific Security Studies and Head of the Department of Security Studies and Criminology, Macquarie University; Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
Ph.D. Candidate in Security Studies, Princeton University School of Public
and International Affairs; Fellow, Princeton's Center for International Security Studies
(CISS); Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John S. Van Oudenaren
Editor-in-Chief, China Brief; China Program Manager, The Jamestown Foundation