Chinese tactical nuclear weapons
Owens, Gregory B.
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The United States, Russia and Great Britain have retired all nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Surprisingly, China has not. China seems to value highly tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs). Most studies of China's nuclear arsenal focus on strategic nuclear weapons. This focus could mislead those trying to understand PRC TNW strategy. The purpose of this thesis is to explain China's TNW development. China's nuclear arsenal evolution can be described in three phases. In the first phase, China developed a limited strategic nuclear deterrent. China's arsenal was driven by threat. Technology supplanted threat as the dominant driver during the next phase. While conducting research to miniaturize strategic warheads, TNWs were developed. During the third phase, a reduced threat caused political leaders to restrain the nuclear program. The nuclear program reverted to its primary objective -- building strategic weapons, causing TNW production to level off. This study explains the last two phases of TNW development. The research goals are twofold: to compare threat and technology, the primary motivations driving TNW production; and to examine the relationship between doctrine and development, describing how one influences the other. The conclusion offers U.S. foreign policy recommendations
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