Understanding China's nuclear non-proliferation policy
Nichols, Patti J.
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China's nuclear-export activities appear to contradict its official non-proliferation policy. Scrutiny of China's nuclear exports and non- proliferation commitments indicate an adherence to strict "letter-of-the-law" obligations. Yet, China's commitment to the norms and values of the non- proliferation regime is controversial. The difference between China's legal obligations and the international norms of acceptable export behavior is a function of the ambiguity inherent in international treaties and agreements. Stephen Meyer's motivational hypothesis is used to evaluate China's nuclear- export decision-making process. China's motivational profile created by the combination of 16 incentives and disincentives on one hand, and international and domestic conditions on the other. Two case studies are used to illustrate that this profile is not static. As environmental conditions and China's national priorities change, so does China's motivational profile. in the past, U. S. attempts to alter China's nuclear-export activities were successful when the targeted changes were congruent with China's national priorities. For the United States to influence China's future nuclear-export activities, it must first understand China's national priorities and determine the corresponding export motivations that influence China's decision-making process. The United States should then work to change conditions, which would shift the balance of incentives and disincentives, thereby changing the outcome of China's cost- benefit calculus
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