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China and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime.

This article surveys China's policy towards the nuclear non-proliferation regime and contests the view that China has now completed the transition from a challenger to an upholder of the global non-proliferation regime. It argues that "the learning curve hypothesis" and the "bureaucratic politics and profit motives" arguments provide only a partial explanation of China's shifting but ambiguous and contradictory policy towards non-proliferation. China has cleverly played "the proliferation card" by exploiting loopholes in the nonproliferation regime and contradictions in major power relationships so as to serve its national security interests. The article examines the factors that have led Beijing to disregard the non-proliferation regime in the past and might make it continue to do so in the future. It also analyses the changing Asian security environment and its impact on China's nonproliferation commitments in the future.


The global nuclear non-proliferation (NNP) regime is an outgrowth of the steps taken during the second half of the twentieth century to halt the horizontal spread of nuclear weapons. The NNP regime consists of several components. These are the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), founded in 1957; the 1953 Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) banning the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, outer space, or under water; the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which was extended indefinitely in 1995; the London-based Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG), formed in 1974, which requires IAEA safeguards on all of its participants' nuclear exports; the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) aimed at halting the proliferation of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems; the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement (a successor to the Cold War era's COCOM) covering conventional weapons and dual-use exports; and the Zangger Committee which covers nuclear-related exports. T he 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which has yet to come into force, further constrains all states from conducting nuclear tests. In addition, the nuclear weapons free zones (NWFZs) in Latin America, the South Pacific, and Africa have further strengthened the regime. In 1995, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) proposed the establishment of a NWFZ in Southeast Asia, and in 1997 the five Central Asian states issued the Tashkent statement proposing a NWFZ for Central Asia.

The overall record of the NNP regime has been a mixture of success and failure. On the positive side, the five decades of international efforts at curbing the spread of nuclear weapons have created a political and normative climate in which no state can easily declare its nuclear intentions. The unsuitability of nuclear weapons to most military situations also renders them useless. Moreover, a number of nuclearcapable states -- notably Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan -- have in recent years agreed to abandon the strive for, or dismantle their nuclear weapons capabilities. In this sense, the regime has been fairly successful.

On the negative side, the campaign for nuclear disarmament appears to be failing just when success seemed at hand. Since the mid1980s, the regime has been undermined by the emergence of new suppliers of nuclear technology and delivery systems, as well as by an increase in the number of threshold or new nuclear weapons states (NWSs).. Apart from the five declared NWSs (the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China), and two new self-declared NWSs (India and Pakistan), several other nations (Israel, Japan, North Korea, and Iran) are widely believed to have made significant progress towards acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities. The changes in the international system and the global nuclear balance of power since the end of the Cold War have thrown up new challenges and opportunities for the NNP regime.

The commitment of the five declared NWSs to the cause of nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament has been the subject of comment and criticism at the 2000 NPT Review conference. Among all the declared NWSs, the People's Republic of China (PRC), the last signatory to the NPT, continues to cause much concern as intelligence reports suggest that "the China shop" for nuclear and missile technology sales still remains open for business. China has been held responsible for aiding, either directly or indirectly, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in South Asia, the Korean peninsula and the Middle East.

The question of Chinese policy on non-proliferation is a complex one and has long been the subject of speculation and debate since the early 1960s. [1] Some analysts dub China's attitude towards non-proliferation as reckless and irresponsible. Others see it as cautious, deliberate, evolving, and realistic. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that Chinese policy towards the NNP since 1949 has been a shifting one of national expediency conditioned by Beijing's perceived national security objectives. These objectives have led China to make several tactical turnabouts which, in turn, have created problems for the NNP regime.

This article surveys Chinese attitudes towards the nuclear non-proliferation regime from the 1950s until the present. It examines the factors that have led China to disregard it in the past and might make it continue to do so in the future. China's nuclear and missile assistance to Pakistan, Iran, and other countries provides the backdrop for a detailed analysis of what the Chinese have said and done, and, more importantly, why, with regard to proliferation at different times. The last section analyses the changing Asian security environment and its impact on China's non-proliferation commitments in the future.

Early Chinese Attitudes towards Nuclear Weapons and Proliferation

When the People's Republic of China (PRC) came into existence in October 1949, it was confronted with a hostile external environment. In a period of less than five years, the United States threatened three times to use nuclear weapons against the PRC: twice during the Korean War, and again during the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1958. Despite Chinese rhetoric denigrating nuclear weapons as "paper tigers", the leadership in Beijing was aware, even during the 1950s, of the awesome destructive power of nuclear weapons and the implications of nuclear war. [2] Right from the very beginning, the Chinese leadership assigned an important role to nuclear weapons and resisted external attempts to restrict or control the development of China's nuclear capability. China's decision to develop nuclear weapons was also motivated by national ambitions to become a great power. The inherent logic for China was clear: "Since many countries are developing them, surely China has to do the same. We would hope nuclear weapons could be b anned, but until then we will still have to develop them." [3] Seeing the PTBT of 1963 as an example of a U.S.--Soviet condominium to block China's acquisition of nuclear weapons, Beijing was vigorously opposed to the first nuclear arms control treaty, coming out with the argument that "more may be better". It may be recalled that Beijing at that time lacked the capability to conduct underground nuclear tests and was preparing to test its own nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, which was prohibited by the PTBT. Apparently, Beijing was unwilling to see itself permanently denied strategic parity with the superpowers, which seemed implicit if it agreed to the PTBT.

After the first successful test in 1964 came a change of emphasis. While verbal support for nuclear proliferation continued, the Chinese media after 1966 focused on the ongoing negotiations for an NPT. China's nuclearization in 1964 had given major impetus to efforts at curbing further proliferation. [4] As soon as the NPT was signed by Washington, Moscow, and London in 1968, Premier Zhou Enlai attacked it as "a big conspiracy and swindle" by the United States and the USSR, in their attempt to turn the non-nuclear weapon states (NNWSs) into "protectorates". [5] There were strong and long established beliefs among China's leaders about the hegemonistic nature of superpower-inspired non-proliferation.

However, despite its condemnation of the NPT as being more "unscrupulous and outrageous" than the PTBT, Beijing did not subject it to the kind of extended attack to which the PTBT had been. For the NPT not only left the continuous development of the Chinese nuclear programme unaffected, but also actually accorded it legitimacy. [6] In August 1971, Beijing rejected a Soviet proposal for the convening of a five-power conference, to include the United States, the USSR, China, Great Britain, and France, to discuss the question of nuclear disarmament. The rationale underlying China's strong denunciation of strategic arms limitation talks, nuclear free zones, and test ban proposals throughout the 1970s was summed up in an article in Hongqi: "Historically, the struggle for disarmament has never stopped the extension of armaments." [7] The key elements of the Chinese policy on nuclear proliferation during this period can be summarized as follows:

* China had to "go nuclear" because of the increasing nuclear threat posed first by the United States and then by the Soviet Union.

* China's nuclear weapons were meant for self-defence only and Beijing pledged never to use nuclear weapons first, and not to use them against non-nuclear states.

* Beijing would not have developed nuclear weapons if its demands for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons had been met.

* China was opposed to any arms control agreement, such as the NPT, which curtailed the sovereign rights of non-nuclear states and perpetuated superpower hegemony.

* China hoped that a greater number of countries would be able to make nuclear weapons but it was unrealistic to expect Chinese help in any nuclear aspirations that they might have harboured.

China's Changing Perspectives on Non-Proliferation: 1978-88

The mid-1970s saw China emerging from its self-imposed isolation and a rapid decline in the vitriolic rhetoric of the Cultural Revolution. The increasing Soviet threat, which the Chinese perceived on their northern borders had forced Beijing to pursue realpolitik and to improve relations with the United States and Western Europe. In 1971, the PRC took its seat at the United Nations. At the first NPT Review Conference in 1975, China did not adopt the aggressive posture of the 1960s. Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua, speaking at the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD) in May 1978, merely reaffirmed the right of "all countries to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes" and opposed "the superpowers' attempts to hamper ... the development by other countries of their own nuclear industry." [8] This statement indicated a major shift in Chinese policy in the intervening period of a decade between the NPT and the U.N. SSOD. It said nothing about the right of other countries to acquire nuclear weapons. The militant posture of 1968 that the "nuclear monopoly will be further broken" had given way to ambiguous assertions that the superpowers were hampering the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. [9] It also set the tone for future Chinese commentaries on the NPT.

Evidently, there was a domestic dimension to the softening of Chinese criticisms of the NPT in the late 1970s. Nuclear technology and nuclear power were accorded top priority by the post-Mao leadership in order to solve the massive energy shortages that had hindered China's industrialization programme. In 1978, China decided to set up several nuclear power plants and to attain 10,000MW (megawatts) of installed nuclear capacity by the year 2000. To realize this goal, China needed to obtain considerable foreign technology and acquire manufacturing and other infrastructure. China's civilian nuclear programme made it imperative to seek agreements on nuclear co-operation with the suppliers of nuclear technology, such as the United States, Japan, France, the then West Germany, Britain, and Italy, all champions of non-proliferation. [10] In 1979, the Carter Administration authorized Framatome, a French government-run reactor manufacturing corporation, to offer Beijing a nuclear power reactor for the Guangdong proje ct. Talks on a nuclear co-operation agreement between the United States and China started in 1981 under the Reagan Administration, but were suspended because of intelligence reports about China's clandestine nuclear collaboration with Pakistan, South Africa, and Argentina. [11] Negotiations resumed after Beijing agreed to join the IAEA in late 1983 and accept global non-proliferation norms and obligations. [12] Beginning in 1984, Chinese leaders at the highest levels repeatedly reiterated their opposition to further proliferation but still refused to ratify the NPT. The Chinese representative at the IAEA stated that to do so "would not be conducive to the development and worldwide peaceful uses of nuclear technology, to the economic and scientific development of various countries." [13]

Nonetheless, in order to take the heat out of U.S. Congressional opposition to Sino--American nuclear co-operation, Beijing agreed to apply IAEA safeguards to any nuclear technology exported by it. When China joined the IAEA in early 1984, its representative also declared that, "Beijing respects the desire of a great many non-nuclear weapon states not to test, use, manufacture, produce and acquire nuclear weapons. China will accept the Statute of the Agency and fulfill obligations arising therefrom." [14] In January 1984, China went a step further when Premier Zhao Ziyang, during a visit to the United States, stated: "We do not advocate or encourage nuclear proliferation. We do not engage in nuclear proliferation ourselves, nor do we help other countries develop nuclear weapons." [15] China also acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1984.

The prominence given to Premier Zhao's statement by the official Chinese media was indicative of a major shift from China's previously ambiguous policy. However, this initiative soon became embroiled in controversy on Capitol Hill because Zhao's statement was not phrased in the future tense, and not long after it was made, Chinese scientists were discovered at the Kahuta site in Pakistan, where a clandestine nuclear enrichment plant was being built. This further delayed the conclusion of the proposed U.S.--China nuclear pact as Washington sought further clarification from Beijing that covered future activities as well. [16] To resolve the deadlock, the then Chinese Vice-Premier Li Peng declared on 18 January 1985 that "we have no intention either at present or in the future, to help non-nuclear countries develop nuclear weapons." [17]

On balance, China's membership of the IAEA and Li Peng's 1985 statement put China in much the same position as France -- that is, it would not sign the NPT but would behave as if it had. Subsequently, the Sino-American nuclear agreement was initialled when China agreed to technology export policies "consistent with basic non-proliferation practices common to the United States and other suppliers". [18] Apparently, China's need for nuclear co-operation with the suppliers of advanced nuclear technology and signatories to non-proliferation agreements had brought about some change in China's declared policy on nuclear proliferation. [19]

However, China's refusal to abide by the NSG guidelines remained a matter of serious concern. [20] Beijing had, after all, entered into nuclear co-operation "for peaceful purposes" with several NPT holdouts, such as Argentina, Brazil (both later joined the NPT), and Pakistan (an NPT holdout). For example, the Sino-Pakistani nuclear agreement of 1986 was reported to have included IAEA safeguards on exports of Chinese nuclear materials to Pakistan, but it did not "require as a condition of supply that Pakistan place all of its nuclear installations under the IAEA system" [21] as required by members of the NSG. Beginning in 1987, China began to require that countries importing Chinese nuclear materials accept IAEA safeguards on the use of those imports.

In view of China's continuing unsafeguarded nuclear transfers to countries of high proliferation risk throughout the 1980s, serious questions remained whether Beijing's stated commitment to nonproliferation was anything more than a commitment of convenience, that could just as easily be reversed in the future. Although the Sino--American nuclear co-operation agreement remained in limbo for twelve years because of strong evidence of continuing Chinese proliferation activities, and was resurrected by the Clinton Administration in March 1998, it was clear that by making their bilateral nuclear co-operation with China conditional upon the latter's adherence to non-proliferation guidelines and existing nuclear supply norms, the United States, countries in Western Europe, and Japan did succeed in persuading Beijing to rethink its policy regarding proliferation.

At the same time, there was an increasing awareness in Beijing of the security and political benefits accruing from participation in arms control regimes. The nuclear developments in Asia undoubtedly impacted upon China's military strategy. Gradually, Beijing was beginning to accept the prevalent view that further proliferation would have a negative impact on China's own security. That China's stake in closing the nuclear club for new entrants was as great as that of the other four nuclear powers was demonstrated by the Chinese insistence on the continuation of IAEA safeguards in Taiwan, though on a "non-government" basis, which meant an abandonment of Beijing's principle of opposing international bodies' treatment of Taiwan as a separate entity.

Nevertheless, China still proved susceptible to the lure of economic and geostrategic advantages to be gained from exporting the materials, technology, and equipment relevant to another country's nuclear and missile programmes. The apprehensions about the strength of Beijing's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation seemed justified when the Chinese in 1988 sold surface-to-surface Dong Feng 3A (or East Wind CSS-2) intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) with a range of 2,600km, to Saudi Arabia and M-9 and M-11 missiles to Syria and Pakistan respectively. [22] All this posed a serious challenge to the newly-established MTCR (in 1987) by the G-7 (group of seven industrialized) countries and diminished China's credibility as a country committed to the cause of non-proliferation. U.S. criticism and diplomatic pressure resulted in Deng Xiaoping's ambiguous assurance to the visiting U.S. Secretary of Defence, Frank Carlucci, in September 1988, that "China would exercise restraint on missile sales, because re straint may be warranted under certain conditions." [23] If anything, the 1980s further highlighted the fact that China's participation in the non-proliferation regime was an essential prerequisite for the success of the global efforts to check the further spread of WMD.

Chinese Perspectives on Non-Proliferation: 1989-99

China's slow march towards the global NNP regime gained momentum in the 1990s. It was driven as much by the need to end the country's diplomatic isolation following the Tiananmen massacre of June 1989 as by the "earth-shaking events" of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War shortly thereafter. The international arms control agenda was shifting from bilateral U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms control to multilateral regimes (both formal and informal) to constrain the spread of WMD. As one observer noted:

Whereas in the 1980s, it was sufficient for China to demonstrate its political commitment to arms control by participating in UN disarmament conferences and urging the United States and the Soviet Union to reduce their theatre and strategic nuclear arsenals, in the 1990s, Beijing has had to provide more tangible non-proliferation commitments that more directly affect[ed] Chinese security. [24]

The year 1989 signalled a major change in China's non-proliferation policy. In that year, China concluded a voluntary safeguards agreement with the IAEA for the application of IAEA safeguards inside China. In February 1992, China pledged to abide by the original 1987 MTCR guidelines; in March 1992, China signed the NPT; in 1993 came the signature and ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); and in July 1993, China committed itself to report its trade in nuclear materials and its exports of nuclear equipment and related materials to the IAEA. For China, accession to the NPT served its security interests as it not only legitimized China's declared NWS status but also shifted attention to the potential threat to regional and global security from nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula and South Asia, and from clandestine leakage of nuclear materials (the threat of so-called "loose nukes") in the post-Soviet states. Diplomatically, China's NPT accession demonstrated its non-proliferation commi tments to the world and enhanced its profile on arms control issues, consistent with its status as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Thereafter, China enunciated three principles to guide its approach to nuclear exports: [25]

* all nuclear exports are for peaceful purposes only;

* all recipients must accept IAEA safeguards on their nuclear imports from China; and,

* recipients may not re-transfer nuclear items imported from China to a third country without prior Chinese approval.

In 1994, China contributed to gaining North Korean acceptance of the US-DPRK Agreed Framework, which led to a freeze of the North Korean nuclear weapons programme. In May 1995, at the fifth Review Conference of the NPT, China supported the decision to extend the treaty indefinitely. In November 1995, China issued its first publicly released Defence White Paper, which focused on arms control and disarmament. In May 1996, the Chinese issued a statement promising to make only safeguarded nuclear transfers; and in July 1996, Beijing instituted a moratorium on nuclear testing, signing the CTBT two months later. In April 1997, China deposited its instrument of ratification of the CWC. (The CWC entered into force on 29 April 1997.) China's current nuclear export controls consist of three main components:

* A May 1997 State Council "Circular on Strict Implementation of China's Nuclear Export Policy" to all its governmental and non-governmental entities, providing guidance on nuclear exports.

* The September 1997 "Regulations on Nuclear Export Control" (with an attached control list the same as the NSG control list on nuclear items [INFCIRC/254 Part I]), which: (i) require all of its sales of nuclear materials and equipment abroad to have the approval of the State Council (or Cabinet); (ii) require countries that import nuclear equipment and materials from China to guarantee that these will not be used with the aim of creating a nuclear explosive device; and (iii) prohibit Chinese exports of nuclear equipment, personnel, and technology to nuclear facilities in any non-nuclear weapon state that is not under IAEA inspection.

* The June 1998 "Regulations on Export Control of Dual-use Nuclear Goods and Related Technologies" which have an attached control list the same as the NSG's nuclear dual-use list [INFCIRC/254 Part II]. [26]

All these regulations gave legal effect to China's three nuclear export principles and its May 1996 pledge not to provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. In October 1997, China joined the Zangger Committee and formally established a new Arms Control and Disarmament Department within the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the October 1997 Sino--U.S. summit, China provided further nuclear non-proliferation assurances, thereby satisfying the Clinton Administration's Congressional certification requirements for the implementation of the U.S.--China agreement on nuclear cooperation (signed in 1985) in March 1998, and paving the way for U.S. commercial sales to China's civilian nuclear energy sector. The May 1998 nuclear tests by India and Pakistan marked a turning point when China, for the first time, came out as a staunch supporter of the nonproliferation regime. Ironically, the Chinese attitude towards India's nuclearization was remarkably similar to the "hegemonistic attitude" displaye d by the United States when China went nuclear. Many believe China has now made the transition from a challenger to an upholder of the global NNP regime. However, despite these positive developments, a number of problems still exist. [27]

First, China does not require full-scope safeguards (FSS) by the recipient country as a condition of supply even after joining the Zangger Committee as a full member. Beijing evidently resists the full-scope standard because this would oblige it to terminate nuclear cooperation with Pakistan.

Secondly, China has not publicly adopted a "catch-all" obligation to deny nuclear or nuclear-related exports or assistance to a country that might satisfy formal IAEA and NPT criteria yet have a dubious nonproliferation record for other reasons (for example, North Korea, Libya, Iran, or Iraq).

Thirdly, China has yet to show its commitment to follow-up and monitor the end-use assurances on its nuclear and nuclear-related exports within recipient states and facilities.

Fourthly, whilst China has made notable strides in joining formal arms control regimes, it continues to shun informal multilateral export control arrangements, such as the NSG, the MTCR, and, in the chemical weapons area, the Australia Group (AG), and the Wassenaar Arrangement (conventional arms exports and related dual-use items).

Fifthly, efforts to win Chinese compliance with the guidelines of the MTCR have come to nought, notwithstanding Beijing's repeated verbal and written assurances on the MTCR since 1988. That China continues to violate the MTCR guidelines at will is evident from the export of technology for missile guidance, testing, and production to Iran, and the provision of complete missile systems and missile components to Pakistan. Interestingly, Beijing has also come up with a unilateral, flexible interpretation of certain MTCR guidelines to serve its geostrategic interests as well as those of its allies. Testifying before a U.S. Congressional panel in July 1998, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Einhorn said that Washington believed "that China has ... continued to be supportive of Pakistani missile programs through provisions of components technology." [28]

Sixthly, China has linked its support to the proposed Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) to India and Japan.

Seventhly, continued suspicions persist of the existence of Chinese offensive chemical and biological weapons (CBW) programmes, contrary to China's public statements and in violation of its commitments to the BWC and CWC. In May 1997, the United States imposed sanctions against two Chinese companies for chemical weapons-related exports to Iran.

Last but not least, formal adherence to legal standards is one thing, effective enforcement of the underlying objectives is quite another. Past experience suggests that it will take some time to determine whether China's practices in nuclear exports meet international standards for nuclear-related and dual-use equipment, materials, and technology that could be used for WMD development purposes. The CIA has acknowledged that:

China's participation in international non-proliferation regimes has led to moderate decline in its sensitive technology exports to other countries. In many cases, however, China is now selling dual-use technology, hardware, and expertise, which are not always explicitly controlled under these multilateral control regimes. [29]

There is no doubt that compared with its past nuclear export practices, China seems to have come a long way. Despite this progress, the effectiveness of China's new export control commitments and practices still needs to be closely watched and analysed. After all, China's commitment to non-proliferation is only less than a decade-old, Beijing having acceded to the NPT in March 1992.

China as a WMD Proliferator

As noted earlier, since the mid-1980s, a number of reports, emanating from Western intelligence sources, have held China responsible for exporting nuclear materials to countries of high proliferation concern despite China's repeated assurances to the contrary. [30] China, for example, supplied Algeria with a research reactor; Argentina with heavy water and enriched uranium; Brazil with enriched uranium; India with heavy water; Iran with training for nuclear technicians, reactor technology and a research reactor; Iraq with lithium hydride; North Korea with training for nuclear and missile technicians; and even South Africa with enriched uranium. Three of the countries which China helped -- Argentina, Brazil and South Africa -- eventually renounced their nuclear weapons programmes. Others have moved on to pose formidable challenges to the international NNP regime. It has been argued that China bears a great deal of responsibility for recent nuclear proliferation in Asia, given the assistance it has provided to Pakistan's and North Korea's nuclear/missile efforts over the years. [31] China's nuclear and missile assistance to three countries in particular -- Pakistan, North Korea and Iran -- has been the leading cause of concern. [32]


Of all the nations that China has helped, none has reaped more benefits than Pakistan, often getting materials it could not get elsewhere -- highly enriched uranium (HEU), assistance with the building of an unsafeguarded 50-70MW plutonium production reactor at Khushab and plutonium reprocessing facility at Chasma, enough uranium hexaflouride feedstock to enable operation of Pakistan's centrifuges, ring magnets, and the machines for the production of weapons-grade uranium for its bombs. [33] All this was in contravention of nonproliferation pacts which China was a party to but was aimed at keeping their mutual enemy (India) in check. [34] It is no exaggeration to say that China was the chief instrument by which Pakistan got its bomb. That is why soon after carrying out its nuclear tests in May 1998, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, praised and thanked China for its contribution and help. According to Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control: "If you subtract China's help from the Pakistani nuclear program, there is no Pakistani nuclear program. And China is not promising to stop its help to Pakistan's civilian nuclear program, which means more training, more experience and the possibility of technology transfer from the civilian to military side." [35] U.S. intelligence documents during the past twenty years paint a thorough picture of close Sino-Pakistani co-operation in the nuclear field, which began following the signing of a secret Sino--Pakistani nuclear technology co-operation agreement in 1976. [36] All of Pakistan's nuclear laboratories -- Kahuta, Khushab, and Chashma -- have been aided by China. Some U.S. intelligence reports even claim that one or two nuclear devices that Pakistan tested in May 1998 were actually Chinese. This would amount to a violation of the CTBT that Beijing has signed but not ratified.

China not only provided Pakistan with nuclear plants and warheads but also their delivery systems: ready-to-launch M-9, M-11 and a number of CSS-2/DF-21 (renamed Hatf, Shaheen and Ghauri, respectively) ballistic missiles. [37] China also helped Pakistan to build a missile production factory near Rawalpindi. Interestingly, the test firing of Pakistan's ballistic missiles is always preceded by Pakistani missile scientists' pilgrimage to the "Middle Kingdom". [38] The Academy of China Aerospace Corporation is also assisting Islamabad in the development of long-range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. [39] Chinese exports of missiles, components, and related technologies to Pakistan have led to repeated confrontations with the United States, and the imposition on two occasions of MTCR Category II sanctions against China. These missile technology transfers violated written confirmation from China that it would abide by the MTCR "guidelines and parameters". [40]

Information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies has shown that China is continuing covert assistance to Pakistan in violation of its undertakings under the Joint Statement on South Asia of June 1998 which required China and the United States "to prevent the export of equipment, materials or technology that could in any way assist programs in India or Pakistan for nuclear weapons or for ballistic missiles capable of delivering such weapons." [41] There is certainly more to the Sino-Pakistani connection than actually meets the eye.

North Korea

Several hundred North Korean experts have been trained in plutonium separation and other nuclear technologies in China (as well as in the former Soviet Union) since the 1960s. [42] China is also believed to have assisted North Korea's ballistic missile programme. [43] Much like Pakistan's Ghauri and Shaheen (tested in April 1998 and 1999) and Iran's Shahab (tested in July 1998), North Korea's Taepo-dong (tested in August 1998) medium to intermediate range missiles have their origins in Chinese CSS-2 missile technology. That North Korea now serves as a conduit for Chinese supplies to other countries was confirmed by a 1999 Pentagon intelligence report, which said "the Chinese are proliferating on a consistent basis without technically breaking agreements with the US". [44]


After Pakistan, Iran is said to be the second Islamic country to go nuclear with covert and overt Chinese assistance. Although Iran is a member of the NPT, according to the Pentagon, China is a "principal supplier of nuclear technology to Iran". [45] China and Iran signed a ten-year nuclear co-operation agreement in 1990. Iran agreed to purchase two 300MW pressurized water reactors (PWRs) from China in 1992. In September 1995, the Chinese ambassador to Iran confirmed that China was supplying uranium enrichment, and other nuclear, technology to Iran. [46] China has also supplied Iran with a research reactor capable of producing plutonium and a cauldron, a technology that can be used to enrich uranium to weapons-grade. [47] Chinese technicians assisted Iran in constructing a uranium plant near Esfahan, and with other parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, such as uranium mining and processing and fuel fabrication. During the Sino--U.S. summit in October 1997, China pledged in a confidential agreement to forego future nuclear cooperation with Iran (but not missile co-operation).

China has also provided Iran with nuclear-capable ballistic missiles [48] (M-9 and M-11), [49] missile components, and chemicals that can be used for making nerve gas. [50] China has reportedly "sold Iran 400 tons of chemical agents, giving it the largest chemical weapons stockpile of any Third World country". [51] Like Pakistan, Iran also has been a steady customer of Chinese conventional weaponry (such as C-802 anti-ship cruise missiles, SA-2 surface-to-air missiles, F-7 combat aircraft, and fast-attack patrol vessels).

Other Countries

In 1990, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the imposition of an international trade embargo, China provided Iraq with lithium hydride, a chemical compound useful in both boosted-fission and thermonuclear (hydrogen) bombs, as well as ballistic missile fuel. [52] China has also pursued a continuing nuclear export relationship with Algeria. In the missile export field, China has aided the missile programmes of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, and Iraq in violation of the MTCR. In 1988, China sold Saudi Arabia 30 DF-3 or CSS-2 medium-range ballistic missiles. These missiles are nearing the end of their operational life and Saudi Arabia is looking for replacements. Beijing could route missiles through either Pakistan or North Korea to escape U.S. sanctions. Nor has China given up its right to sell to other countries those missiles which are not controlled by the MTCR.

The United States sought throughout the 1980s and 1990s to persuade China to stop nuclear assistance to Pakistan and Iran but to little or no avail. [53] The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), in June 1997, submitted a required report to the U.S. Congress stating that "China was the most significant supplier of WMD-related goods and technology to foreign countries." On 28 January 1998, DCI George Tenet testified to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee that "there is no question that China has contributed to WMD advances" in Pakistan and Iran, and argued for close monitoring of Chinese declaratory and operational policies with regard to non-proliferation. [54] Those China-watchers who had argued that the Clinton Administration's confidence in Beijing's non-proliferation policies was misplaced were proven right when within weeks of President Clinton's assent to the implementation of the U.S.--China nuclear co-operation agreement in January 1998, [55] U.S. intelligence agencies found that the state-run Chinese Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation was planning a secret sale to Iran of hundreds of tonnes of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride (AHF), a chemical needed to enrich natural uranium to weapons-grade. [56] Though U.S. officials pressured China to stop the sale, "this incident was a clear signal that the US nuclear agreement with China might be only as good as the quality of US intelligence." Once again, it suggested that China was not living up to its promises. Then came the news of Pakistan's first military plutonium production reactor going operational at Khushab. Beijing "had promised the United States, during talks on activating the US-China nuclear accord, that it would not supply the heavy water needed by Pakistan to start up the reactor". [57]

The preceding analysis shows that during the 1960s, China's posture conceptually and rhetorically favoured nuclear weapons proliferation, particularly in the Third World, as a rallying point for anti-imperialism. However, Beijing did not actually proliferate. Throughout the 1970s, China's policy was not to oppose nuclear proliferation, which it still saw as limiting U.S. and Soviet power. After China began to open to the West in the 1980s, its rhetorical position gradually shifted to one of opposing proliferation. However, China's nuclear and arms trade practices did not conform to international nonproliferation regime standards, and it emerged as a major proliferator of WMD technologies. Major efforts during the last two decades have persuaded China to bring its nuclear trade practices closer to the policies of the other nuclear supplier states. However, there still remains a wide gap that needs to be bridged. China remains a significant WMD proliferator. Neither inducements offered to China (in the form of recognition of its status as a major power by the world community, and access to international trade, capital, and technology) nor sanctions and penalties have succeeded in bringing a complete end to China's dealings with would-be bomb-makers.

Explaining China's Proliferation: Three Views

How does one explain the motives behind China's assistance to countries known for clandestine WMD programmes, which has not only upset regional military balances in conflict-prone regions but also complicated the negotiation of arms control agreements? Several views and theories have been put forward. The dominant view is that Beijing's policy has gone through a positive process of gradual evolution and improvement since 1949 and that it has now jumped on to the nonproliferation bandwagon. However, one can argue that China has very cleverly sought to exploit loopholes in the non-proliferation regime and contradictions in major power relationships to serve its broader national security interests. There is a general consensus that there remain serious discrepancies between what China has said and what China has done on this subject.

The Learning Curve Hypothesis

This school argues that China is still on a learning curve, and that China's non-proliferation policy has gradually evolved and shown a great deal of improvement since the 1950s. Beijing has step-by-step clarified and upgraded its non-proliferation commitments and it is becoming more co-operative with the international NNP regime, and this trend is likely to continue. Apparently, the needs of China's nuclear power industry, together with the end of the Cold War, played an important role in the assimilation of international NNP norms. Efforts by successive U.S. administrations to meet the Congressional conditions required for the implementation of the 1984 Sino--U.S. agreement on peaceful nuclear co-operation encouraged Beijing to gradually abide by international non-proliferation norms and apply controls on its nuclear exports that are closer to the standards of the major nuclear supplier countries. Consequently, China put in place a systematic policy framework for non-proliferation, both to resolve differenc es and conflicts arising from nuclear exports and to narrow the gap between rhetoric and reality. Various twists and turns in China's policy are explained as a demonstration of the fact that China has been involved in a continuous learning and adaptation process. [58]

Bureaucratic Politics and Profit Motives

Yet another explanation is the existence of differences within China's policy-making apparatus, particularly between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of National Defence (MND), over how much help should be given in the absence of a clear-cut policy, and the pulls and pressures from the Chinese national security establishment to share its nuclear aid/materials with Beijing's friends and allies.

Whenever confronted with reports of nuclear and missile sales, the MFA's first reaction is to dismiss them as "utterly groundless" or "baseless". [59] That reaction is right perhaps because, more often than not, the defence establishment acts without reference to the Foreign Ministry. The organizations involved in the nuclear and missile trade are controlled by the military, which is always willing to either bend the rules or turn a blind eye in securing lucrative foreign markets. The economic policies of the last two decades have produced a much-weakened central government that shows difficulty in controlling the market forces that underlie arms sales. Thus, the bureaucratic turf battles between the MFA and the MND could possibly explain the endemic problems of a political, cultural, and organizational nature that exist in China's decision-making and export control apparatus. Therefore, we need to look at bureaucratic politics and organizational explanations for foreign policy decisions, which may have resul ted in WMD proliferation.

Several analysts believe that Chinese nuclear arms proliferation results from fragmented, autonomous and unco-operative decision-making cells within the Chinese defence establishment. [60] Complex, family-connected networks (guanxi) operate across military organizations, government ministries, and nominal civilian corporations. These networks can be unresponsive to admonitions from the MFA because arms sales continue to provide much needed hard currency to their organizations and also to powerful individuals. These autonomous networks may have little incentive to bow to international or even internal pressure.

It was only in the late 1990s that Beijing attempted to regain control over the unsupervised activities of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) profiteers with the establishment of an Arms Export Control Group from which all major foreign arms sales must obtain a central government licence. Beijing's ability to control and monitor the activities of domestic companies engaged in nuclear/missile exports is also questionable. Moreover, to the extent that control is exercised at all, it seems that the Central Military Commission and not the Foreign Ministry wields the most clout in the approval process.

Thus, China's pursuit of hard currency has led it to undermine the non-proliferation regime from time to time. Economic gain was the prime motivation behind China's sales of enriched uranium to South Africa; heavy water to Argentina; low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel and heavy water to India through a German subsidiary; [61] and behind its sale of intermediate range ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia. In June 1990, China also agreed to help Egypt modernize its production of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles as part of an accord worth hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars. The Clinton Administration determined in August 1995 that China had sold 5,000 ring magnets to Pakistan's Kahuta Research Laboratory between December 1994 and mid-1995. It is worth noting that in recent years, China has promoted its foreign military sales in an attempt to earn hard currency to fund the country's ongoing defence modernization programmes. However, China is not alone in this approach. Russia, France, and other Wester n arms supplying countries have been equally opportunistic. In short, the bureaucratic turf battles and the hidden activities of autonomous arms manufacturing and trading entities have undermined China's nonproliferation objectives. [62]

Playing "the Proliferation Card": China as a Strategic Proliferator

Each of the above views provides only a partial explanation of China's non-proliferation policy which can best be characterized as "one step forward, two steps back". None offers a convincing explanation on why China decided to help Pakistan, Iran, or North Korea when it had steadfastly declined similar billion-dollar requests from Libya or Egypt in the past? Or, for that matter, why not help oil-rich Kuwait, Nigeria, or Mexico? Is there some grand geostrategic design at work here? This question cannot be answered without an understanding of China's national security interests in general, and its Asia policy in particular. Beijing's customary denials notwithstanding, China's pursuit of broader strategic objectives makes it undermine the non-proliferation regime.

First and foremost is the strategic objective of limiting U.S. dominance worldwide and to counter any moves aimed at the consolidation or enlargement of the U.S. alliance network in the Asia-Pacific. [63] In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, China made a strategic decision to move closer to Iran and to build up its defences as a counterweight to U.S. influence in the Middle East. From China's perspective, the emergence of additional power centres, albeit far from its borders (for example, Iran), will provide a valuable U.S. hostage and preoccupy the United States, leaving South and Southeast Asia to reckon with China's growing might. In China's strategic calculations, faced with two or three regional crises simultaneously, the United States would have to choose the one which is more critical to its national security interests, leaving the other region to China to set the pace.

Secondly, and a related objective, is to ensure China's pre-eminence in the Asia-Pacific by "restraining Japan and containing India" [64] China's assistance to the nuclear and missile programmes of North Korea and Pakistan has largely been motivated by the need to provide a counterweight to its strategic rivals in Asia. Since China faces three great powers in East Asia -- the United States, Japan and Russia -- it has long seen South and Southeast Asia as its spheres of influence, and India as the main obstacle to achieving its strategic objective of attaining a predominant position in southern Asia. This is why Beijing has used its ally, Pakistan -- dubbed as "China's Israel" by PLA generals -- to contain India's growing power and repeatedly broken its promises to halt clandestine strategic transfers to Pakistan in violation of obligations under Article 1 of the NPT. Even the repeated imposition of sanctions did not deter China from working long and hard to transform the Sino-Indian nuclear equation of the 1 960s and 1970s into an India-Pakistan nuclear standoff in the 1990s. [65] To take the heat off its proliferation activities, Beijing has encouraged its military allies, Islamabad and Pyongyang, to establish closer nuclear and missile cooperation links since the early 1990s. [66] In line with Sun Tzu's maxim of "subduing the enemy without fighting", China has played something of a double game in South Asia and Northeast Asia, having earlier contributed to their destabilization by transferring nuclear and missile technologies to its allies (Pakistan and North Korea) and later offering to help contain the problem of nuclear/missile proliferation in South Asia and the Korean Peninsula. Such tactics buttress the point that China's "centrality" in regional security issues must be recognized as essential to their resolution. In other words, proliferation has afforded Beijing the unique opportunity to successfully play the dual role of a troublemaker and troubleshooter in South Asia and Northeast Asia. Such a strateg y not only obviates the need for China to pose a direct threat to Japan or India but also allows Beijing to wield its prestige as a disinterested global nuclear power while playing the role of a regional arbiter.

Thirdly, and finally, is the strategic need to build a network of close allies (Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, North Korea) because "all great powers have strong allies". Just as the United States can count on the support of its allies (Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom) in times of crisis, so the argument goes, China also needs the support of strong allies to secure its interests, particularly in Asia. [67] By building up the military capabilities of allies -- such as Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran -- Beijing seeks to tie down India, Japan, and the United States in their respective regions with certain security concerns. So, it is argued that unlike other NWSs, China has consistently and deliberately used proliferation as an effective instrument to advance its strategic interests in Asia. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea owe a greater part of their nuclear and missile capabilities to China.

That Beijiang's arms control policy remains subservient to its broader national security strategy became even more evident in 1999-2000. As bilateral relations between China and the United States deteriorated over issues as diverse as the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in May 1999, Taiwan, American plans for theatre missile defence (TMD) in East Asia, China's accession to the World Trade Organization and human rights, Beijing retaliated by doing what it had always done in the past: suspending bilateral dialogue with the United States on non-proliferation and arms control issues and stepping up transfers of its nuclear and missile technologies to countries hostile to the United States and its allies. Robert Walpole, national intelligence officer for strategic and nuclear programmes, told a U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee in February 2000 that both China and North Korea were continuing their missile technology exports to Pakistan and Iran. This constituted a gross violation of an undertaking under the Clinton-Jiang Joint Statement on South Asia of June 1998. [68]

Furthermore, during Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan's visit to Iran in February 2000, the first high-level bilateral exchange between the two countries since 1994, military co-operation in the areas of nuclear and missile technologies was discussed. In early May 2000, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright revealed that Washington had also voiced concern to China over reports that Beijing was aiding Libya's long-range missile development efforts. The Washington Times (9 May 2000) reported China's refusal to provide assurances against the transfer of nuclear technology to third countries as required under the 1997 Clinton--Jiang agreement for the sale of American nuclear reactors to China, forcing the United States to withhold sixteen licences sought by China. The Chinese attitude raised questions about Beijing's commitment to the global non-proliferation regime in general, and fuelled doubts about the credibility of its assurances to the United States against the transfer of nuclear weapons technol ogy to Pakistan and Iran in particular.

China has long used its nuclear and missile sales to the countries of the Middle East as a bargaining chip to pressure Israel to part with advanced conventional weaponry and anti-ballistic missile defence technology. [69] A major reason behind Israeli arms sales to China has been the need to neutralize Beijing's strong support for Arab states and the fear of Beijing's retaliation by means of the supply of nuclear and missile technology to Muslim countries hostile to the Jewish state. It was not a coincidence that reports of Chinese assistance to Libya's long-range missile programme appeared at the time of intense U.S. pressure on Israel to cancel a US$2 billion deal to sell airborne military radar (similar to the U.S. AWACS) to China that would diminish Taiwan's significant air power capabilities. "We don't want to have China hostile to Israel", cautioned an Israeli official, noting that Beijing would send arms to the region, which could harm both American and Israeli interests. [70] Likewise, sporadic repor ts of Chinese nuclear collaboration with Algeria ensure that the French remain on China's side. Increasingly, China's assistance takes the form of technology transfer or exports through third parties or missile parts, as opposed to complete missile systems.

Evidence shows that Beijing has either paid lip service to the nonproliferation objectives or made only those concessions absolutely essential to: (a) mend fences with the West, and (b) to secure access to advanced technology but without accepting terms which would constrain its security policy options or restrict China's nuclear and missile exports. This ambivalence has been accompanied by deliberate attempts to exploit grey areas ("differences of interpretation" as in the MTCR case), ad hoc decision-making based on mixed or contradictory policy preferences, and poor export controls. The end result is that China remains a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.

Obviously, China's nuclear and missile transfers are motivated by the strategic considerations of: (a) countervailing the United States, India and Japan; (b) gaining useful allies; (c) procuring advanced military technology; and (d) securing access to critical energy resources. Some transactions may be purely commercial ventures, but most are meant as leverage or a bargaining chip to extract concessions in the form of military assistance or diplomatic influence and to contain Beijing's rivals. The end of the triangular US-USSR-PRC diplomacy of the Cold War years has seen China increasingly playing "the proliferation card" primarily because, unlike the West, Beijing cannot use international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, or the clout of the G-7 to bring about desired changes in the behaviour or policies of other states. For example, Beijing has always exploited its nuclear and missile transfers as a bargaining chip in its attempts to curb U.S. arms transf ers to Taiwan. [71] In short, China has come to rely on the proliferation of WMD and non-cooperation on arms control issues to get what it wants.

This explanation refutes "the learning curve" argument which claims that China simply did not know much about the nonproliferation regime initially. As with the "bureaucratic politics and commercial motives" hypothesis, the "learning curve" hypothesis provides only a partial explanation of China's shifting but ambiguous and contradictory policy towards non-proliferation. This also reflects the tension between being a status quo power in terms of nuclear weapons capability and a non-status quo power in terms of a rising great power. Robert Greenberger and Matt Forney also believe that China has emerged as a hard-headed, calculating, strategic proliferator:

Russia often sells weapons technology because its economic crisis leaves officials and ministers grasping for chances to earn hard currency, and the US leaks weapons know-how because it simply can't contain its explosion of technology. China, by contrast, more often exports high powered weapons and technology in a cool pursuit of specific policy goals ... Over the years, China has shown remarkable persistence in its use of weapons sales ... to achieve its goals, regardless of world opinion or even the threat of sanctions. Occasionally ... China slows the pace or shifts tactics under international pressure ... China is a strategic proliferator. [72]

It is argued that the Chinese have perfected the art of proliferation of clandestine nuclear and missile technology transfers and made it a tool of Chinese national security policy. It is worth remembering that Beijing's proliferation activities helped to create the context within which India decided to unveil its nuclear weapons and Japan decided to opt for the U.S.-backed theatre missile defence (TMD) system in East Asia. China's proliferation record shows that a country's signature on the NPT is by no means a guarantee that it has become a supporter of the non-proliferation regime. The Chinese play "the proliferation card" because it serves their vital strategic interests. Therefore, Beijing's denials of any "wrongdoing" must be taken with a grain of salt. [73]

Chinese Perspectives on Asian Security and Nuclear Weapons in the Twenty-first Century

Seen from the Zhongnanhai (the Chinese leadership compound in Beijing), the Asian security environment at the beginning of the new century gives rise to apprehension. From Kosovo to Kazakhstan, Mongolia to Manila, Chinese strategists perceive that a U.S.-led containment ring is closing in on China. [74] The recent renewal and enlargement of the U.S. military alliance network in Asia and fresh U.S. military engagements in Southeast Asia have heightened concerns. Chinese fears of an American thrust westward in the Pacific have been reinforced by the eastward expansion of the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) close to Beijing's borders in Eurasia. The huge American lead in advanced conventional military technologies, and the new U.S. focus on building national missile defences and theatre missile defences that could downgrade the effectiveness of China's nuclear deterrent, have also generated new concerns in Beijing. [75] At the global level, China has been put off by the U.S. military action in Kosovo (which raised the spectre of the unconstrained assertion of U.S. power throughout the world) bypassing the United Nations system, where China, as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has a veto. While China has been stressing the importance of a "multipolar world" at the global level, some powerful sections of the Beijing elite want to work for the re-emergence of a bipolar world at the regional level -- this time with the United States and the PRC as the dominant players in the Asia-Pacific.

Japan's future orientation is also a source of major concern to Beijing. Taiwan remains a flashpoint in the short to medium term. Beijing seeks to ensure that issues relating to Taiwan and North Korea do not enhance Washington's nuclear military presence in Northeast Asia. China's nuclear neighbours have doubled following the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in the south, joining Russia in the north. A nuclear arms race on China's vulnerable southwestern flank has the potential to sidetrack economic development, which is China's top priority. Beijing also has to weigh the consequences of a weak, unstable, nuclearized and Talibanized Pakistan for China's own security. India's overt nuclearization, the possible deployment of TMD in Japan and the growing Japanese and Indian push for permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council -- all these have the potential to seriously damage China's hopes of emerging as the predominant, unchallenged power in the Asia--Pacific. That is why, the "three Souths" (san nan : South Asia, the South China Sea, and Southeast Asia) have now become the focus of Beijing's security attention. [76]

Emerging global strategic trends indicate to Chinese planners that the security environment is becoming more complex and uncertain, with the gradual diffusion of power and the proliferation of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities in their immediate neighbourhood. While the threat of a global nuclear Armageddon has receded, the danger of nuclear weapons being used in regional conflicts or by separatist forces seeking independence has become real. Given the uncertainty and unpredictability of world politics, Chinese strategic experts argue that reliance on nuclear weapons as a military-political safeguard will remain a key element of the military doctrines of all major powers. Though no immediate or real nuclear threat against China exists at present, Chinese defence planners still feel the need to guard against nuclear blackmail or nuclear attack, especially at a time when proliferation seems to be gaining momentum, and the arsenals of other nuclear club members are not only well in place but are also s eeing qualitative improvements. Beijing has continued with technological and research efforts to update nuclear weapons capacities, reaffirming the stance that the possession of nuclear weapons is necessary for strategic deterrence, power balance, and national security. Sha Zukang, head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Arms Control and Disarmament Department, has made it clear that China would participate in arms control talks and treaties only on condition that they do not undermine the global strategic balance or Beijing's security interests, particularly its nuclear deterrent capability. Sha has noted that a "balance of terror" has kept nuclear peace for decades and remains "the only realistic course" until such weapons are phased out. [77]

Will China Renege on its Non-Proliferation Commitments?

China's decision to adhere to or withdraw from non-proliferation agreements will be strongly influenced by perceived threats to its security from U.S. global strategy, the future of arms control treaties, developments in other NWSs and the requirements of its nuclear force posture. [78] Proliferation in China's neighbourhood would undoubtedly play a major part in reversing China's non-proliferation stance.

RMA for the West, Nukes for the Rest?

The overarching dominance of the United States, coupled with the growing military gap driven by the ongoing revolution in military affairs (RMA) may have increased the utility and relevance of nuclear weapons for both second-tier NWSs like China and non-nuclear countries, possibly as a hedge against great power intervention. It is also likely that with the rapid advances in RMA weaponry, the United States will leapfrog over its allies and adversaries and neither its allies nor adversaries will have the technological edge necessary to develop countervailing systems. Should this happen, T. V. Paul has argued that the total abolition of nuclear weapons would serve U.S. security interests as it would enhance its strategic position. Therefore, it should not be surprising "if in the 21st century, the United States emerges as the major champion of total nuclear disarmament ... However, countries with weak conventional capabilities vis-a-vis the US, such as Russia, China, and India, are unlikely to agree to nuclear a bolition in the short run." [79] The logic of military technology advancement dictates that the revolution in military affairs will be for the rich and powerful, and WMD for the poor and weak. In asymmetric conflicts, WMD will indeed become the "poor man's nukes". For example, the United States would not have launched Operation Desert Storm (the Persian Gulf War) if Iraq had had a nuclear weapons arsenal. In short, the lessons learnt from the Gulf and Kosovo wars, the relative cheapness of a nuclear deterrent compared with modern conventional weaponry, and above all, the relatively easy access to nuclear technology and fissile material make nuclear weapons procurement an attractive option.

The Future of Arms Control Treaties

A major factor underlying China's current ambiguous and contradictory non-proliferation policy is concern about the future of arms control treaties. Reversal of the reductions mandated by the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) treaties or amendment and/or reinterpretation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to permit the deployment of NMD/TMD would increase China's strategic inferiority; spur another nuclear arms race between the United States, Russia, and China; force the other NWSs, such as India, to expand their nuclear arsenals; and cause threshold states and nuclear aspirants to pursue nuclear weapons programmes. Already, Chinese strategists have advised the leadership to delay ratification of the CTBT and adopt a "wait and see" policy on all arms control treaties until a new administration is in place in Washington. Beijing does not seem enthusiastic about the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) either. China also remains opposed to a proposed Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) along the lin es of the BWC and CWC. In the meantime, China is determined to push ahead with the modernization of its nuclear arsenal.

National Missile Defence and Theatre Missile Defence

Beijing worries in particular about the U.S. deployment of TMD in East Asia, especially in Japan and Taiwan. [80] Another issue related to China's nuclear deterrence concerns the U.S. proposal to deploy the NMD for the continental US (CONUS). China believes that both developments would undermine the credibility of China's nuclear deterrent, and strongly opposes both the NMD and the TMD. China has indicated that the further development or deployment of such systems could compel China to expand its nuclear arsenal and intensify its nuclear weapons modernization efforts. [81] From Beijing's perspective, the United States has long tolerated the tens of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons; why can it not tolerate a few so-called "rogue state" missiles.

For more than a year, China held up all work at the Disarmament Commission in Geneva, both to protest missile defence plans and to focus on the U.S. proposal to amend the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Beijing believes that the TMD would spark a new global arms race and possibly what Sha Zukang calls a "nightmare scenario" of nuclear weapons proliferation. [82] Clearly, China will be reluctant to go along with American non-proliferation objectives should NMD/TMD deployments occur. The U.S. move would be accompanied by Chinese counter-measures: an increase in its missile stockpiles, modernization of its nuclear arsenal, and proliferation of WMD in countries hostile to the United States and its allies.

Nuclear/Missile Developments in Asia

China may reverse its non-proliferation commitments if it comes to believe that its security is threatened by strategic developments in its neighbourhood. Already, indications are that the repercussions of India's nuclearization are retarding China's non-proliferation progress. A Chinese analyst, Ming Zhang, recently quoted senior officers within the PLA as saying that India's acceptance into the nuclear club would mean the collapse of the non-proliferation regime, and China would retaliate by "continuing the proliferation of nuclear technology and devices that are restricted by the NPT either intentionally or because of loopholes in its export-import system." [83] In other words, the Chinese are not only exploiting loopholes in the non-proliferation treaties but are also threatening to step up their proliferation activities. China is aware of India's potential to target it with nuclear weapons. Recent reports indicate that China has deployed nuclear-armed medium-range missiles closer to India. Beijing is als o concerned at what it sees as a recent "pro-India tilt" in Washington's South Asia policy following President Clinton's recent visit to the subcontinent and the cold-shouldering of the Pakistani military regime. China's powerful military constituency is now using India's declared nuclear capability as a justification for supplying further nuclear equipment and expertise to Pakistan. Japan also has a plutonium stockpile, missile capability, and a modern and highly capable Self-Defence Force. Beijing fears the logic and pull of geopolitics is pushing Tokyo and New Delhi to a strategic alliance with the United States so as to contain China. In August 1998, Beijing warned Taipei that developing nuclear weapons would be a very dangerous step, absolutely harmful to Taiwan. [84] As one Chinese analyst has noted: "It is in China's interest to protect itself against the eventuality that someday any one or a number of its neighbours might go nuclear." [85]

China's Nuclear Force Posture

The Chinese have noted that both Russia and NATO have reaffirmed the centrality of nuclear weapons in their security strategies. As China becomes a full-fledged great power, it may conclude that substantial nuclear forces are a litmus test of great power status and move to improve both the quality and quantity of its nuclear arsenal. These changes are described as a shift in policy from "minimum deterrence" to "limited deterrence", that is, seeking a capability to deter conventional, theatre, and strategic nuclear war, and to control escalation in the event of a nuclear confrontation. Under a "limited deterrence" doctrine, China would need to acquire a counterforce capability in addition to a countervalue posture, which would require increased accuracy and expanded deployments. [86] China, the third largest NWS with an arsenal of approximately 450 weapons, recently earmarked nearly US$10 billion to boost the country's second-strike capability. Indeed, China's nuclear force modernization may become a determini ng factor in shaping the Second Nuclear Age in the twenty-first century. [87]

In short, a major deterioration in China's security environment will be necessary before Beijing reverses its non-proliferation commitments and/or introduces a major change in its nuclear force posture. The most likely short- to medium-term scenario is that China will remain a reluctant player on non-proliferation issues.


During the 1960s and 1970s, China had repeatedly endorsed the spread of nuclear weapons as a means of breaking the Soviet-American superpower nuclear duopoly. It did not enter into any international legal obligations, and refused to submit itself to controls and safeguards for its nuclear exports. Nuclear arms control treaties were seen as a means of maintaining and perpetuating superpower hegemony. Nonetheless, the evidence shows that between 1956 and 1976, at a time when China was still publicly supporting proliferation, it followed the practice of not providing nuclear assistance to other nations. Thus, countries such as Libya and Egypt found, much to their consternation, that Beijing did not practice what it preached.

Since the early 1980s, China has gradually and reluctantly joined other NWSs by adopting non-proliferation policies and practices, which it had previously eschewed so vociferously. Throughout the 1990s, Chinese leaders repeated China's opposition to nuclear proliferation on various occasions. At the same time, China's slow movement towards embracing the non-proliferation regime has been marred by Beijing's unsafeguarded transfers and exports of highly enriched uranium, heavy water, nuclear reactors, nuclear weapon designs, and ballistic missiles to countries of high proliferation risk, notably Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran. From the perspective of international arms controllers, Beijing's nuclear "sins" have been numerous. Despite repeated assurances to the international community since 1984, the Chinese leaders' links with would-be bomb-makers have continued. China remains a firm believer in the efficacy of balance-of-power politics. It is significant that an examination of Beijing's nuclear non-prolifera tion policy shows that during the 1960s and the 1970s, when the Chinese were publicly championing the cause of proliferation, their words were not matched by their deeds. But when they were actually involved in aiding the nuclear weapons programmes of other countries in the 1980s and 1990s, they refrained from eulogizing proliferation. This time again, their deeds have not been matched by their words.

This apparent contradiction, it is argued, can be best understood as resulting from China's tendency to use "the proliferation card" for broader security objectives, and not by a desire merely to secure hard currency or energy resources from rogue/client/subordinate states. It also serves a larger strategic purpose. To the extent that the United States, Japan, and India are preoccupied with dangers posed by Chinese-supplied conventional and unconventional weaponry in the hands of the mullahs of Iran, North Korea's Kim Jong Il, and the Talibanized military rulers of Pakistan, those nations will be distracted from the threat China itself poses -- or at least be less capable of dealing with it. It is obvious that China's nuclear and missile technology sales continue to be an integral part of Beijing's national security strategy, both as a means of encouraging multipolarity and containing perceived rivals, and of increasing China's strategic position and influence. China is now surrounded by a number of overt or covert NWSs.

Given China's long record of broken promises, it is safe to conclude that the Chinese (and North Korean) co-operation with Pakistan and Iran in the nuclear and missile fields may well continue for the foreseeable future. The Chinese would circumvent the NNP laws, norms and guidelines if doing so would serve their geostrategic interests. For China's Asian neighbours, Beijing's notable strides to join the NNP regime will continue to be offset by its nuclear force modernization programme and further assistance to international proliferation.

China's attempts to play "the proliferation card" also reveal a tension between two broad policy options: one tends to push China towards supporting non-proliferation for its own self-interested reasons; whereas the other, by accepting the inevitability of nuclear and missile proliferation, would have China steer this process in a way beneficial to its security interests (for example, by providing nuclear and missile technology to Pakistan and Iran as a counterweight to Indian and U.S. military power in its general region). Although evidence is sketchy, it may be said that China's foreign policy establishment propounds and supports the first option, while the country's defence establishment would seem to support the second for long-term geostrategic objectives. This tension between the two contradictory policies has led Beijing to take several tactical turnabouts on the proliferation issue, and reflects the uncertain nature of China's nuclear arms control policy. An examination of Chinese perspectives reveal s that, contrary to the common perception, China still has a long way to go before it can be said with certainty that it has fully accepted non-proliferation goals and practices. There still remain several contradictions and ambiguities in Chinese non-proliferation policy which could hinder China's slow movement towards embracing the NNP regime, despite China's growing engagement in multilateral fora. Should China's security be endangered by nuclear proliferation and TMD deployments in its vicinity, the Chinese leadership would not hesitate to provide nuclear arms aid to its regional allies if doing so undermined the security of China's perceived enemies. For all their efforts, sanctions and inducements, the Americans have not succeeded in controlling proliferation where it matters most, the Middle East and South Asia.

J. MOHAN MALIK is Director of the Defence Studies Programme at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia.


(1.) See the works of A. L. Hsieh, Communist China's Strategy in Nuclear Era (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962); M. H. Halperin and D. H. Perkins, Communist China and Arms Control (London: Praeger, 1965); O. R. Young, "Chinese Views on the Spread of Nuclear Weapons", and J. Stone, "Arms Control: Can China Be Ignored," in Sino-Soviet Relations and Arms Control, Vol. II, Report to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (East Asian Research Center, Harvard University, 1966); J. D. Pollack, "Chinese Attitudes Toward Nuclear Weapons, 1964-69", China Quarterly, no. 50 (April-June 1972); and H. Gelber, Nuclear Weapons and Chinese Policy, Adelphi Papers, No. 99 (London: IISS, Summer 1973).

(2.) Hsieh, op. cit.; Mark Ryan, Chinese Attitudes Toward Nuclear Weapons: China and the United States during the Korean War (New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1989).

(3.) Xie Yixian, Zhongguo Waijiaoshi 1949/1979 [A Diplomatic History of China] (Zhengzhou: Henan People's Press, 1988), p. 303; and Mingquan Zhu, "The Evolution of China's Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy", Nonproliferation Review 4, no. 2 (Winter 1997).

(4.) For details, see Gerald Segal, The Great Power Triangle (New York: St Martin's Press, 1982), pp. 129-31.

(5.) Renmin Ribao, 13 June 1968, p. 1; and SIPRI Yearbook 1968-69, p. 159.

(6.) For a detailed analysis of this period, see Chi Chiang Hu, "Arms Control Policy of the People's Republic of China 1949-1978" (Ph.D. thesis, Balliol College, Oxford, 1984), p. 151.

(7.) "On Disarmament", Hongqi, 1 June 1980, p. 47.

(8.) Peking Review, 2 June 1978, pp. 7-9. Emphasis added.

(9.) K. N. Ramachandran. "China and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Issue", IDSA Journal (New Delhi), No. 1 (July-September 1980), p. 98.

(10.) C. Van Doren and R. Jones, China & Nuclear Non-Proliferation: Two Perspectives, PPNN Occasional Paper Number Three (University of Southampton, July 1989), p. 13.

(11.) L. H. Gelb, "Pakistan Link Perils US-China Nuclear Pact," New York Times, 22 June 1984, p. 1; U.S. House of Representatives. Nuclear Energy Cooperation with China, Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on U.S. Trade with China of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, 98th Congress, 2nd Session, Serial No. 98-148, 16 May 1984), pp. 20-21.

(12.) L. S. Spector, Nuclear Proliferation Today (New York: Vintage Books, 1984), pp. 316-19.

(13.) Statement made by Wang Shu to the 27th General Conference of the IAEA, 11 October 1983, Record of the IAEA, 27th Session, 1983. Emphasis added.

(14.) Ibid. See also Wu Xiuquan, in Non-Proliferation: The Why and the Wherefore, edited by J. Goldblat (SIPRI: Taylor & Francis, 1985), pp. 41-55.

(15.) "Zhao's Nonproliferation Stand seen as Path to US Aid Pact", Washington Post, 13 January 1984, p. 1.

(16.) L. H. Gelb, "US Aides Suspect Continuing Chinese Nuclear Aid to Pakistan". International Herald Tribune (hereafter cited as IHT), 24 June 1984, pp. 1-2.

(17.) Xinhua News Bulletin, 19 January 1985, pp. 35-36.

(18.) L. S. Spector, The Undeclared Bomb (Cambridge, Mass: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1988), pp. 73, 344.

(19.) Statement of Zhou Ping in 7 IAEA Bulletin (Winter 1985), p. 59.

(20.) These guidelines (announced in 1978) for nuclear transfers, though not legally binding, include commitments to require IAEA safeguards on exports; to obtain promises of peaceful use and other assurances for nuclear exports on a government-to-government basis; and to exercise restraint in the transfer of sensitive reprocessing, or enrichment technology, or equipment. See L. A. Dunn, "The Emerging Nuclear Suppliers: Some Guidelines for Policy", CISA Working Paper No. 61 (UCLA, February 1988), p. 6.

(21.) Spector, op. cit., p. 74. Italics mine. Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. A. Q. Khan, in an interview claimed that Sino-Pakistani nuclear accord covered "all nuclear activities", that is, military nuclear activities as well. See "China May Help Build Pakistan's N. Bomb", Financial Times, 29 September 1986, p. 5.

(22.) Jane's Defence Weekly, 11 March 1989, p. 10.

(23.) Cited from Van Doren and Jones, op. cit., p. 31.

(24.) R. D.V. Sismanidis, "Chinese Security as Asia Evolves: Constraints and Ambiguities", Journal of Northeast Asian Studies 15, no. 2, (Summer 1996): 63--80, 72-73.

(25.) "China: Arms Control and Disarmament," Beijing Review 38, no. 46 (1995): p. 18.

(26.) China claims to have not joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) so far "due to historical reasons". Sha Zukang, "China's Stand on Non-Proliferation", Beijing Review, 8-14 February 1999, pp. 6-9.

(27.) Information here is based on Center for Nonproliferation Studies, China and Proliferation: Encouraging Developments and Continuing Concerns (Monterey Institute of International Studies, CNS Projects: EANP Factsheets, April 1999). [less than][greater than]

(28.) Associated Press, 23 July 1998.

(29.) See responses to questions for the record, dated 10 May 1996, from J. Moseman, Director, Congressional Affairs, CIA, in Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States and Its Interests Abroad (Washington, DC: GPO, 22 February 1996), p. 75. Italics mine.

(30.) Testimony of P. Leventhal, President, Nuclear Control Institute on "China Trade Policy" presented to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection Committee on Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, 14 May 1998. [less than][greater than]

(31.) See E. Ahrari, "Sino--Indian Nuclear Perspectives", Jane's Intelligence Review (hereafter cited as JIR), August 1998, p. 33; and Mohan Malik, "Nuclear Proliferation in Asia-The China Factor", Australian Journal of International Affairs, 53 no.1, (April 1999): pp. 31-34.

(32.) The information here draws on S. Doll, "China's Record of Proliferation Misbehavior", Issue Brief, Nuclear Control Institute, Washington, 29 September 1997.

(33.) B. Gertz, "China Aids Pakistani Plutonium Plant," Washington Times, 3 April 1996, p. A4; and G. Milhollin and G. White, "A New China Syndrome: China's Arms Bazaar," Washington Post, 12 May 1991, pp. C1, C4.

(34.) In return, Pakistan has shared with China advanced conventional and nuclear technology that it acquired from the West. Pakistan is also a major buyer of Chinese conventional weaponry and the Chinese navy enjoys privileged access to its naval bases in the Arabian Sea. Pakistan reportedly shared with China the stolen gas centrifuge nuclear technology from Holland. The acquisition of the unexploded US Tomahawk cruise missile fired against Osama bin Laden's camps in August 1998, which accidentally landed in Pakistan, by the Chinese is another example of the mutually beneficial arms relationship

(35.) R. Windrem, "China gave Pakistan design data, training and nuclear material", Indian Express, 9 June 1999, p. 1.

(36.) See J. Carver, "Nuclear Weapons and the China-India Relationship", Paper presented at the conference on "South Asia's Nuclear Dilemma", Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. 18-19 February 1999; T. Weiner, "US and Chinese Aid Was Essential as Pakistan Built Bomb," International Herald Tribune (IHT), 2 June 1998, p. 1; "Atom Arms Parts Sold to Pakistan by China, US Says," New York Times, 8 February 1996, p. Al.

(37.) For a confirmation of Chinese supplies of ballistic missiles to Pakistan, see Chinese ambassador to the USA, Zhu Qizhen's address to the National Press Club, Washington DC, Reuters Transcript Report (27 June 1991), cited in J. Wilson and Hun Di, "China's Ballistic Missile Program", International Security 17, no. 2 (Fall 1992): 37; and D. Lennox, "Control Regimes Fail to Stem the Spread," JIR (September 1999), pp. 50-54.

(38.) R. J. Smith, "China Linked to Pakistani Missile Plant", Washington Post, 25 August 1996, p. 1.

(39.) S. Gupta, "2,400 km-range Shaheen II to be ready within a year", Hindustan Times, 27 September 1999, p. 1; "India Says China has sent Missiles to Pakistan", Reuters wire story, 7 August 1997. See also J. Smith and D. Ottaway, "Spy Photos Suggest China Missile Trade", Washington Post, 3 July 1995, p. Al.

(40.) "US says Pakistan has full Chinese missile system", Reuters, 14 September 1999,[less than]southasia[greater than] 14 September 1999; R. J. Smith, "Spy Photos Suggest China Missile Trade," Washington Post, 3 July 1995, p. 1; and G. Milhollin, "China Cheats (What a Surprise!)", New York Times, 24 April 1997, p. A35.

(41.) Reuters, "Missiles 'supplied to Pakistan'," South China Morning Post, 15 September 1999; and "State Department: US Won't Punish China on Missiles", Inside China Today, 16 September 1999.

(42.) M. Hibbs, "No US Agency Consensus on DPRK Nuclear Progress", Nucleonics Week, 6 January 1994, p. 10.

(43.) L. Spector et al., Tracking Nuclear Proliferation (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1995), p. 49.

(44.) B. Gertz, "China Still Shipping Arms Despite Pledges", Washington Times, 15 April 1999, p. 1. Beijing is reported to have diverted U.S.-manufactured equipment to Pakistan's National Development Centre by disguising the shipment in export documents as "Masada Cookware". J. S. Bermudez, Jr. "DPRK-Pakistan Ghauri Missile Cooperation," Federation of American Scientists (FAS), 12 August 1998, [less than][greater than]

(45.) Office of the Secretary of Defense, Proliferation: Threat and Response (Washington D.C.: Department of Defence, 1996), p. 14.

(46.) China exports over US$60 million worth of nuclear technology to Iran annually. C. Coughlin, "U.S. Sounds Alarm Over Iran Nuclear Threat", Sunday Telegraph (London), 23 February 1997, p. 24.

(47.) K. Timmerman, "Tehran's A-Bomb Program Shows Startling Progress", Washington Times, 8 May 1995, p. 1.

(48.) Representative T. Lantos, "Chinese Ballistic Missile Sales", Statement before the Subcommittee on International Security, International Organizations, and Human Rights, House Foreign Affairs Committee, 20 May 1993, p. 4; Senate Hearings on "Weapons Proliferation in China", International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services Subcommittee of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, 10 April 1997; B. Gertz, "China Sold Iran Missile Technology", Washington Times, 21 November 1996, p. Al. China has transferred short-range CSS-8 ballistic missiles to Iran.

(49.) B. Opall, "US Queries China on Iran: Fears Transfer of Missile Technology", Defense News, 19-25 June 1995, p. 1.

(50.) R. Einhorn, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-proliferation, Testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on International Security, reported in "State Dept. Revises Report on China's Arms Sales to Iran", Washington Times, 15 April 1997, p. A3.

(51.) M. Yost, "China's Deadly Trade in the Mideast", Wall Street Journal, 4 December 1996, p. A18.

(52.) T. Kelsey, "Chinese Arms Dealers Flaunt UN Embargo-China Ships Vital Nuclear Cargo to Iraq", Sunday Independent (London), 30 September 1990, reprinted in Congressional Record, 18 October 1990, p. H10531.

(53.) Proliferation: Chinese Case Studies, Hearing before the Subcommittee on International Security Proliferation, and Federal Services of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, 105th Congress, 1st Session, 10 April 1997, p. 8, 12.

(54.) S. A. Kan, "Chinese Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction", Congressional Research Service Issue Brief 92056, Current Policy Issues, 1 June 1998.

(55.) The actual U.S.--China Nuclear Co-operation agreement had been signed in 1985, but no co-operation had occurred under the agreement as of January 1998, primarily because of concerns over China's proliferation activities.

(56.) B. Gellman and J. Pomfret, "US Action Stymied China Sale to Iran", Washington Post, 13 March 1998; and B. Certz, "China in New Nuclear Sales Effort", Washington Times, 13 March 1998, p. 1.

(57.) Cited from Testimony of P. Leventhal, President, Nuclear Control Institute on "China Trade Policy", presented to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection Committee on Commerce, US House of Representatives, 14 May 1998.

(58.) Zhu, "The Evolution of China's Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy", 1997; and A. I. Johnston, "Learning versus Adaptation," China Journal 35 (January 1996).

(59.) The official Chinese reaction remains typical. As Shen Guofang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said soon after the discovery of the ring magnets sale: "China has never transferred or sold any nuclear technology or equipment to Pakistan.. .We therefore hope the US Government will not base its policy-making on hearsay." Agency France Presse (AFP, Hong Kong), 26 March 1996.

(60.) See, for example, Dingli Shen, "Promoting Nuclear Nonproliferation: A Chinese View" (Paper presented at the Sixth ISODARCO Beijing Seminar on Arms Control, 29 October-i November 1998, Shanghai, China).

(61.) M. Hibbs, "Reported VVER-1000 Sale to India Raises NSG Concern on Safeguards", Nucleonics Week, 12 January 1995, p. 1. LEU was meant for India's civilian nuclear energy reactor. Considering the hostile state of Sino-Indian relations, it is unlikely that China would knowingly assist India's nuclear weapons programme.

(62.) See "Engaging China on Nonproliferation", Testimony by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State R. Einhorn before the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, 10 April 1997.

(63.) On taking advantage of the contradictions that exist between these countries, see Hu Yumin, "The US Post-Cold War Nonproliferation Policy", International Strategic Studies, No. 3 (Beijing, July 1999), p. 54.

(64.) See Mohan Malik, "China's Asia Policy: Restrain Japan, Contain India", Japan Times, 12 June 1999, p. 21. The South Korean newspaper Joong Ang Ilbo reported on 25 November 1999 that China had recently sold to North Korea "massive quantities" of military equipment; see [less than][greater than]

(65.) Privately, Chinese strategists justify this on the grounds that all NWSs have helped at least one allied state to go nuclear: for example, the United States helped Britain, the Soviets helped China, the French and the Americans helped Israel.

(66.) "China might be pitting North Korea against Japan in the same way as it is pitting Pakistan against India", writes T. Delpech, in "Nuclear Weapons and the 'New World Order': Early Warning from Asia?" Survival 40, no. 4 (Winter 1998--99): 65. Chinese assistance to North Korea and Pakistan epitomizes the emergence of a set of mutually reinforcing proliferation linkages while highlighting the global nature of the nuclear problem and the blurring of the distinctions between Northeast Asian and South Asian security complexes.

(67.) Conversation with Yu Changsen, 7 April 1999.

(68.) "US Officials Say China Still Sells Missile Data", IHT, 13 November 1998, p. 1; and N. C. Menon, "US gets new data on China's missile tech sale to Pak", Hindustan Times, 8 December 1998, p. 1.

(69.) See "China Silent on Whether Iran Nuclear Sale Shelved", Reuters wire story, 26 August 1997. On 28 November 1999, Ehud Barak told the Chinese leader Li Peng that Israel was concerned about China's continuing sales of arms to Iran and reminded him of "China's important decision" of 1997 to cease such transfers.

(70.) B. Barber, "Israel doesn't want US ire over China", Washington Times, 14 April 2000, p. 1.

(71,) On China's attempts to link non-proliferation issues to the US arms sales to Taiwan, see Shirley A. Kan, "Chinese Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction", CRS Issue Brief 92056, Current Policy Issues, 1 June 1998.

(72.) R. S. Greenberger and M. Forney, "China Tests Weapons Limit with Pakistan", Wall Street Journal, 15 December 1998, p. 1.

(73.) As the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said recently: "I wish to emphasise once again China has never transferred nuclear weapons or relevant technology to other countries.. .China has never done it in the past, we do not do it now, nor will we do it in the future." Agence France Presse (Kyodo), 21 October 1998.

(74.) Lu Zhongwei, "International Security Environment Goes through Changes", Beijing Review, 23 August 1999, P. 10; and J. Pomfret, "China Maps Changes in Defense Strategy", IHT, 12 June 1999, p. 1.

(75.) Jian Taojie, "TMD--Source of Tension in the World", Beijing Review, 21 June 1999, pp. 9--10.

(76.) R. Weixing Hu, "India's Nuclear Bomb and Future Sino-Indian Relations", East Asia 17, no. I (Spring 1999): 61.

(77.) E. Eckholm, "China Says U.S. Missile Shield Could Force an Arms Buildup", New York Times, 11 May 2000, p.1.

(78.) "Arms control policies could be reviewed, China warns US", Times of India, 15 April 2000, p.10.

(79.) T. V. Paul, "Great Equalizers or Agents of Chaos? Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Emerging International Order", in International Order and the Future of World Politics, edited by T. V. Paul and J. A. Hall (Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 384.

(80.) Hong Yuan, "The Implication of TMD System in Japan to China's Security" (Paper presented at the Sixth ISODARCO Beijing Seminar on Arms Control, 29 October -- 1 November 1998, Shanghai, China).

(81.) Sha Zukang, "China's Stand on Non-Proliferation", Beijing Review, 8-14 February 1999, p. 8.

(82.) Eckholm, op. cit.

(83.) Ming Zhang, China's Changing Nuclear Posture: Reactions to the South Asian Nuclear Tests (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1999), pp. 60, 47; and "What Threat?" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (September/October 1999), p. 57.

(84.) Foreign Broadcast Information Service, China Daily Report, 27 August 1998.

(85.) Dingli Shen, "Toward a Nuclear-Weapon Free World: A Chinese Perspective," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (March/April 1994), p. 54.

(86.) A. I. Johnston, "Prospects for Chinese Nuclear Force Modernization: Limited Deterrence Versus Multilateral Arms Control", China Quarterly, no. 162 (June 1996), pp. 552-63; and "China's New 'Old Thinking': The Concept of Limited Deterrence", International Security 20, no. 2 (Winter 1995/96): 5-42.

(87.) R. A. Manning, "China's New Nuclear Doctrine", Wall Street Journal, 25 June 1999, p.1.
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