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Worrying About Washington: China's Views on the US Nuclear Posture

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Abstract

Chinese commentators assessing the 2010 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) acknowledged a number of ways in which they felt it was "better" than the 2001 NPR but still found much to criticize and many reasons for concern regarding the review's implications for China and for strategic stability. They welcomed the reduction of US nuclear inventories and reliance on nuclear weapons, the commitments to seek ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and to not conduct nuclear tests, the declaration that the United States would continue to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks, and a number of other points. Commentators generally devoted more attention to issues that were seen to have negative implications for China's deterrent (e.g., continued development of missile defense capabilities and advanced conventional weapons). Their assessments of the NPR were initially colored by the downturn in Sino-US relations in the months prior to the review's release but became more positive as the overall bilateral relationship improved.

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