We are entering a new era for US-China nuclear relations with competitive pressure building and both countries pursuing major modernisation initiatives. China is strengthening and diversifying its nuclear forces to increase their survivability, and thereby enhancing the credibility of its nuclear deterrent. In part, this is driven by the perception that advances in US military capabilities, such as counterforce and missile defence capabilities, are making China’s nuclear forces less effective and its nuclear deterrence less credible. The US, on the other hand, views China’s nuclear modernisation as threatening because it erodes the effectiveness of its damage limitation approach, and foreshadows further changes to China’s nuclear posture. The intensification of US-China strategic competition, the modernisation of military capabilities, the shifting conventional balance in Asia towards China, and technological changes together suggest that US-China nuclear relations will become more contentious in the years ahead. Simply put, we are entering a new era. This seminar looks at the changing military capabilities, perceptions and other drivers of US-China nuclear relations with particular focus on the view from Beijing.
About the Speaker
Adam Ni is the co-editor of China Neican, a policy newsletter on China issues, and China researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney. His current projects focus on China’s military modernisation, strategic forces and deterrence, and party-military relations. Previously, he was a policy advisor at the Australian Treasury, and a researcher at the Australian Centre on China in the World.