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A Military Strategy for the People's Republic of China as a Nuclear Power

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Master's thesis

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To most Americans, the emergence of Communist China on the world scene was almost as unpredicted and dramatic as its first nuclear detonation on 16 October 1964. Each time that Peking was heard from it was in the context of belligerency and militancy. The vast numbers of Chinese soldiers who were sent against United Nations Forces in Korea in 1950 reinforced the thought that Communist China was an aggressive, militant nation. The subsequent conduct of Pekings representatives at the Korean truce conferences appeared to confirm the popular conception of China as a militant nation. That this apparently underdeveloped country could successfully conduct a nuclear test was a cause for concern by all nations of the world. The accomplishment of a second nuclear test detonation only 7 months after the first one and the use of uranium 235 in both devices were clear indications of the extent of Chinas technological development. Considering these accomplishments, it seems appropriate to investigate how this power factor might be employed by China to achieve her national objectives. Investigation indicates that Chinas nuclear development has been given a high priority. This desire to achieve nuclear power status brings conflict of interest to the fore. This conflict evolves when the United States, a major nuclear power, is ready and willing to oppose overt aggressive Chinese actions. This opposition by the United States leads Peking into a risk assessment in consideration of pursuing her national objectives. This thesis concludes that the Peoples Republic of China will not, in the foreseeable future, take actions in pursuit of a direct military confrontation with the United States. China will continue to pursue her objectives by proxy methods. Pekings strategy as a nuclear power will be held in check as long as the United States maintains the ability and determination to prevent overt use of Chinese military power.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Nuclear Weapons

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