Sino-U.S. Competition in Strategic Arms
Arthur, S. Ding
Date of Issue2008-04-24
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
As technology advances, the trade-off between offence and defence has become more complex. On the one hand, offensive weapons have become more powerful, lethal and precise, making counter-measures more difficult. On the other hand, defensive weapons have become more capable than ever before of denying and neutralizing offence. In particular, the use of space, for both offensive and defensive purposes, has proliferated, further complicating this offence-defence calculus. This is where Sino-U.S. security relations stand at present. Both countries are declared nuclear states, with overwhelmingly asymmetric numbers of strategic nuclear weapons in the United States’ favour. This nuclear balance has become even more complex since President Bush decided to accelerate the development of a comprehensive missile defence system, as well as a “New Triad” strategic capability to cope with the volatile external environment in post-Cold War era. Adding to this complexity are Chinese perceptions that the United States is attempting to dominate and control space. This paper aims to analyze how China perceives the United States’ effort to build up its missile defences, “New Triad,” and space capabilities, how China assesses and is attempting to respond to these developments, and the policy implications and potential environmental changes as a result of China’s responses.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science
RSIS Working Papers, 157-08
Nanyang Technological University