Nuclear power in the post‐cold war era: The development of China's nuclear strategy

You Ji*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The end of the Cold War has led the five nuclear powers to reconsider their nuclear strategies against a changed security environment. Although none of them has slowed down their modernization efforts, nuclear arsenals in the United States, Russia, Britain and France have been scaled down. In contrast, China has stepped up its nuclear weapons programs. This may enlarge its current weapons stock. More importantly, with technological upgrading, the Strategic Missile Force of the People's Liberation Army seems to have moved one step closer to real battle preparation [ 1 ]. In People's Liberation Army terminology this means the Strategic Missile Force units have set up full protocols to launch missiles at designated targets, immediately after they receive orders from the Central Military Commission of the Party. This sharpening of the nuclear sword is reflected by the efforts of the Strategic Missile Force to transform itself from a “hiding force” into a “fighting force.” In order to achieve better readiness for action, it has revised its nuclear combat guidelines, redeployed its combat units, and quickened research and development for new missiles. This article is an attempt to analyze the new development of the Chinese nuclear force in the post‐Cold War era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-259
Number of pages15
JournalComparative Strategy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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