Why China is not joining START and INF Treaty


The DF-21C complex is one of the main Chinese medium-range systems. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Despite the known disagreements and difficulties, the leading countries of the world continue to cooperate in the field of strategic arms control. One of the main topics in this area is the possible accession of China to existing agreements. However, Beijing does not seek to accept such invitations, since it believes that such treaties could threaten its security.

Bilateral or trilateral?


Russia and the United States are currently continuing cooperation under the 2010 Agreement on the Reduction of Offensive Arms (START III). Until last year, countries complied with the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty). The latter has ceased to exist, and the prospects for the development of strategic offensive arms remain a topic of discussion.

Over the years, the possibility of inviting the PRC has also been discussed. Beijing could take part in the negotiations, influence their outcome and then join the START or INF Treaty. Bilateral agreements would become tripartite, which, according to a number of estimates, would have a positive effect on the world military-political situation. Recent offers of this kind took place a few weeks ago. As before, China received an invitation from the United States.

However, China does not want to accept any restrictive obligations. The small size of the strategic nuclear forces is becoming a formal reason for this - in this respect, China is inferior to the United States and Russia. In addition, there are other factors due to which international agreements may be disadvantageous or even dangerous for China.

Quantity issue


The exact quantitative parameters of the PLA strategic nuclear forces are unknown. China is faithful to its traditions and is in no hurry to disclose strategically important information. In contrast, Russia and the United States, in compliance with existing agreements, regularly publish key data. Nevertheless, various estimates of the number of nuclear weapons in China are known and one can imagine how the Chinese strategic nuclear forces could comply with START III.


Modern BRDS DF-26. Photo Globalsecurity.org

According to various estimates, China has several types of nuclear warheads for various purposes with a total number of 250-300 to 800-900 units. The number of delivery vehicles of all classes is estimated at 1200-1500 units. Up to 200-250 ballistic and cruise land, air and sea-based missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons can be deployed simultaneously. Other complexes of the PLA missile forces use only conventional charges.

Under the terms of START III, a participating country can have up to 800 nuclear carriers weapons. In the expanded state, it is allowed to hold up to 700 carriers and 1550 warheads. As of September 1, 2019, Russia had 757 carriers, incl. 513 deployed with 1426 warheads. In the United States, there were 800 carriers - 668 deployed with 1376 warheads. Also, in the arsenals of the two countries there are non-deployed nuclear weapons that cannot be calculated under the treaty.

Thus, the PLA is currently losing the strategic nuclear forces of other developed countries in terms of the number of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles. In addition, given the number of such products available, China’s accession to START III simply does not make sense. Armed and on duty are less carriers and warheads than allowed by the terms of the contract. However, START III could significantly limit the future development of the Chinese strategic nuclear forces in quantitative terms.

Medium and shorter range


In the recent past, when the INF Treaty still existed and acted, the opinion was expressed in Russia and the USA about the need to attract third countries to it. One of the new parties to the treaty could be China, which has significant stocks of medium and short-range missiles. However, Beijing quickly rejected all such proposals, citing the special importance of the INF Treaty for national interests.

The PLA missile forces have complexes of all the main classes, and their basis is composed of medium and short range systems. So, with nuclear warheads, at least 30 DF-26 complexes and approx. 80 DF-21 systems of corresponding modifications. There is a comparable number of several types of ballistic missiles for conventional charge and up to 200 short-range systems with similar equipment.


Project 092 strategic submarine missile carrier. Photo by Sinodefence.com

For comparison: on duty there are no more than 70-80 land-based intercontinental missiles with nuclear units. The PLA Navy can deploy up to 48 ICBMs of JL-2 type submarines.

Thus, the missile systems that fall under the terms of the former INF Treaty are still the most massive and, in fact, are the basis of China’s nuclear forces. This is due to issues of production complexity, the strategic position of the PRC and other factors. Obviously, the abandonment of medium- and shorter-range missiles would be a serious blow to the country's defense capabilities. It is understandable why Beijing rejected proposals to accede to the Russian-American treaty.

Development trends


The PRC does not announce its plans for strategic nuclear forces, which is why again it is necessary to rely only on estimates and assumptions. Some of the forecasts regarding the development of Chinese strategic nuclear forces may be cause for concern. Others look less pessimistic.

Recently, China has developed and put into service a variety of missile systems of all major classes, designed for strategic nuclear forces, - land, aviation and marine. Work is also underway to create nuclear warheads. Most likely, similar processes will continue in the future, which will lead to quantitative and qualitative changes.

The American Defense Intelligence Agency believes that in the coming years the main work will go towards increasing the number of warheads and their carriers. By 2030, a doubling of arsenals is expected. Such assessments and the current state of affairs allow us to talk about the future achievement of parity with leading countries.


Start rocket JL-2. Photo Defpost.com

Qualitative changes are less predictable. The PRC has the technological capabilities to further improve its delivery vehicles, and it is quite possible to increase the number of ICBMs with a gradual increase in the share of such weapons in the missile forces. Accordingly, the importance of medium and short-range missiles will be reduced. However, the geopolitical position of China does not allow a complete transition to intercontinental missiles - medium and short-range systems will remain an important tool for some military and political missions.

Reluctance to join


China still does not want to accede to the Russian-American agreements stipulating the development and deployment of strategic nuclear forces. The reasons for this are well known and understood. Meanwhile, the situation in the world is changing; The strategic nuclear forces of the leading countries are also changing. However, even after such changes, one should not expect Beijing to show interest in restrictive agreements: this time it will have other reasons.

In the recent past and now, China did not join the Russian-American agreements for the simplest reasons. The limitations of START III are many times higher than the capabilities of the PLA strategic nuclear forces, as a result of which such an agreement is simply useless. Signing a contract only makes sense as a gesture of goodwill and a demonstration of peace. The INF Treaty, in turn, poses a serious threat to national security, and the PRC would never join it.

In the future, further growth of the Chinese strategic nuclear forces is expected, the result of which will be quantitative and, possibly, qualitative parity with other nuclear powers. In such circumstances, the voluntary adoption of restrictions can slow down and impede the development of the armed forces and prevent strategic security.

Thus, in the past, China has not acceded to existing nuclear weapons agreements, is not going to sign them now, and probably will not do so in the future. At different periods of time, in different settings, and under the influence of a wide range of factors, START III or INF Treaty agreements at least do not correspond to Beijing's interests. Therefore, we should expect that in the foreseeable future there will be a well-known situation with regular offers and constant refusals.
Author:
Ctrl Enter

Noticed a mistake Highlight text and press. Ctrl + Enter

26 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Gene84 18 March 2020 05: 38 New
    • 17
    • 2
    +15
    Correctly, China does that it does not join the treaty limiting the forces of nuclear deterrence. China does not need this. And on this issue, I agree and agree with China.
    1. bessmertniy 18 March 2020 06: 16 New
      • 15
      • 1
      +14
      The example of Russia, when the United States for no good reason refuse the agreement, shows that the United States can not keep words. And since they can’t, then it makes no sense for China to come to an agreement with the Americans.
    2. knn54 18 March 2020 10: 56 New
      • 3
      • 1
      +2
      China, unlike the Yankees, made a commitment not to use nuclear weapons first.
      1. meandr51 18 March 2020 12: 11 New
        • 9
        • 1
        +8
        It's just words.
    3. Aleksandr1971 18 March 2020 11: 04 New
      • 5
      • 1
      +4
      The fact that China does not join the strategic arms control treaty is good for China, but not good for Russia.
      How to combine the usefulness of Russia and China - that is the question?
  2. Vasily 18 March 2020 05: 55 New
    • 7
    • 0
    +7
    Strange topic, strange name, strange article. I would like to ask - what is it about? (after reading). Contracts are signed either for the purpose of acquiring any benefits, or from under a stick. In this case, there is neither one nor the other. Then it’s logical to ask: “Why does China need this?”
    1. Aleksandr1971 18 March 2020 11: 07 New
      • 1
      • 2
      -1
      China certainly does not need this yet.
      But this is necessary for Russia and the United States. Therefore, at some stage of development, both the United States and Russia will begin to try to somehow influence China in this matter.
      Imagine a situation in which Russia and the USA each have 1550 strategic warheads, and China has 100500. Then the Chinese and Russia will be decomposed by the Chinese into molecules, and they will lose 100-200 million people that they don’t mind (also they will say thanks for reducing their population).
      1. meandr51 18 March 2020 12: 14 New
        • 1
        • 0
        +1
        Here is nonlinear arithmetic. China is much easier to destroy than the Russian Federation or the United States with any number of nuclear weapons it has. Just because its population is too concentrated and located below sea level. Almost everyone will be killed.
      2. antivirus 20 March 2020 17: 19 New
        • 0
        • 0
        0
        crocodile Gene plays the accordion-- China will win
        fire on the areas - everything is very convenient for 3-5 -50 poison bg
  3. Amateur 18 March 2020 06: 14 New
    • 4
    • 1
    +3
    In the recent past and now, China did not join the Russian-American agreements for the simplest reasons.

    There are no traitors in China. START will be signed, and missiles in Poland and Romania will remain, because they are "against the DPRK and Iran." American cheaters there is no faith.
  4. Zaurbek 18 March 2020 07: 01 New
    • 4
    • 0
    +4
    China has a situation similar to the Russian Federation. If you remove or limit nuclear weapons, then the NATO countries and US allies in the region will have multiple superiority in high-precision conventional weapons and their carriers and bases for their base around China. And this will mean the beginning of pressure on China by military means.
  5. g1washntwn 18 March 2020 07: 29 New
    • 8
    • 0
    +8
    Strategic offensive arms in general and the tightening of the quantity of nuclear weapons are beneficial only to populists and all sorts of Greta Thunberg. Realities require the presence of such a quantity of carriers and charges that the strategic nuclear forces remain a deterrent against ALL possible "partners". Therefore, looking at how the United States with the United States from NATO tore Yugoslavia, Serbia and bred BV, it is obvious to everyone that there should be enough nuclear weapons so as not to wait from above to guarantee the biblical "Let everyone be rewarded according to his deeds."
  6. V.I.P. 18 March 2020 07: 54 New
    • 3
    • 4
    -1
    They can use short- and medium-range missiles only against the Russian Federation, India and Japan ..... Well, how many and what nobody really knows about them. They hide a lot of such weapons in the rocks. There are some thousand-kilometer tunnels built for these purposes. And why sign these agreements if they are violated when it is beneficial to anyone ...
    1. meandr51 18 March 2020 12: 15 New
      • 0
      • 0
      0
      Not only. There are also US bases in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan.
  7. Boozer 18 March 2020 10: 25 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    As long as there is a US-Russian confrontation of strategic nuclear forces, China will be comfortable.
    1. Aleksandr1971 18 March 2020 11: 11 New
      • 2
      • 0
      +2
      This confrontation is to some extent beneficial both to Russia and the United States. After all, if control over nuclear weapons in the world disappears, then not 5-10 countries, but all 190 countries will own these weapons. Then FIGs will understand whether it will be good if any Syria or Honduras has nuclear weapons. So while the United States has the opportunity to give small countries a head start so that they do not start nuclear weapons, Russia will not be a loser either.
  8. Operator 18 March 2020 11: 16 New
    • 2
    • 0
    +2
    The problem is not in China, but in the Russian Federation - we are significantly behind America and China in medium-range ballistic missiles, which we still don’t have at all, despite the termination of the agreement on the elimination of medium and short-range missiles.

    For example, the United States can at any time install 3 Ktn W-81 nuclear warheads on the SM-200 Block IIA missile defense system (instead of the UKV kinetic interceptor weighing 130 kg) and get at its disposal about a thousand ballistic missile systems with a range of 3500 km according to the number of Mk41 universal launchers deployed on the destroyers Arly Burke.

    The PRC will only then discuss the issue of its participation in the multilateral nuclear arms reduction treaty, when the Russian Federation begins to release its RS-26 Rubezh type ballistic missile with an RGCh IN and a range of 5500 km.
  9. sleeve 18 March 2020 12: 44 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    Why do they need INF? Their main goals are Pakistan, India, Japan and South Korea. this is it. an MBR is more expensive and technologically more advanced than a BRDS at times, and if you sculpt iPhones in cubic kilometers, this does not mean that you have a modern nuclear shield. Perhaps unwillingness of the PRC in the total number of its warheads. There may be three thousand. We, in principle, should not get into agreements with Sasch now. It doesn’t make much sense, and that’s enough, although hundreds of five warheads on ICBMs would not hurt, in addition, one regiment each in the division. ... But it seems to be coming to that. So the PRC is well done, and the contracts are interesting if they are respected. And so a piece of paper ...
    1. Aleksandr1971 18 March 2020 13: 42 New
      • 1
      • 0
      +1
      Why do they need INF? - So after all, plans may change. Today the goal is Japan, and tomorrow Russia. If you think that China has 3 nuclear warheads, then this is twice as much as Russia. And Russia needs to hope for the best, but be prepared for a bad version of events.
      1. Nastia makarova 18 March 2020 13: 45 New
        • 0
        • 1
        -1
        Why do they need Russia?
        1. Aleksandr1971 18 March 2020 13: 49 New
          • 5
          • 0
          +5
          Friends today, and tomorrow enemies.
          See how quickly Russia has been friends and feuding with Turkey over the past 5 years. 3 times probably changed the "plus" to "minus" and vice versa. Of course, you can find logical explanations for this after the fact. I agree with them. But we can’t only predict the future. Same thing with China. The history of Russian-Chinese relations shows both enmity and friendship, and vice versa. And you have to be ready for every option
          1. Nastia makarova 18 March 2020 13: 57 New
            • 0
            • 0
            0
            Of course we don’t know the future, we will be friends with the United States and be at enmity with China
            1. Aleksandr1971 18 March 2020 14: 23 New
              • 3
              • 0
              +3
              ... take turns.
  10. askort154 18 March 2020 17: 18 New
    • 1
    • 2
    -1
    Why China is not joining START and INF Treaty

    Yes, because his story goes beyond 5 thousand years ago. And He did not cross it out every hundred years, or even more often, like some countries. Therefore - genetically wise!
    It’s better to wait, sitting calmly on the shore, when the corpse of your enemy swims past!
    We, the “intellectuals of the 21st century”, regularly fly in the Cosmos, and we are already threatening to destroy the small planet Earth several times with nuclear weapons that have accumulated on it. The simple matter of “being friends” with whom depends on the upbringing, education and interests of the nation that this or that society has raised
    in their "bins". Therefore, today 21 centuries, 196 countries on Planet Earth are sitting on the “UN shore”, and like a paid spectator from the treasury of the same “butting”, and they do not care whose corpse floats before them. They don't give a damn about tomorrow, they get paid today. In such a world order on Earth, in “controlled chaos”, “sitting on the shore” will win. He will simply, calmly wait - when two decapitated, two enemies of the last centuries - Anglo-Saxons and Russians, calmly swim in front of his eyes. But this will already be the beginning of the new Chinese millennium. (such a dream!) And when he woke up!
    Firs, bums! Today is the holiday of Russia! We are not looking at sitting on the trees, or the shore, in anticipation of the "deflection" of Russia - we have shown that there is no need to "talk" with Russia!
    Neither the "atom" nor the "sanctions" - you can’t take it anymore.
    Moreover, new coups! She is allergic to this, in the heels of newborns. Therefore, you do not have enough intelligence to "understand Russia." Russia only needs to be loved, and then you will know its soul! Crimeans, brothers - with a return to their native, Russian penates! Glory to Catherine, Ushakov, Potemkin, and to all who defended Crimea from the Turks, British and Germans. VIVAT-CRIMEA (Peter I would say)
    I proudly raise my groceries - for the centuries-old Russian CRIMEA! For those soldiers who died protecting him. Glory! Glory! Glory!
  11. Peter Tverdokhlebov 18 March 2020 17: 31 New
    • 0
    • 2
    -2
    Can anyone explain what a “counter strike” is and how long it takes to launch SLBMs from the pier?
  12. Old26 18 March 2020 19: 42 New
    • 6
    • 1
    +5
    Quote: bessmertniy
    The example of Russia, when the United States for no good reason refuse the agreement, shows that the United States can not keep words. And since they can’t, then it makes no sense for China to come to an agreement with the Americans.

    An interesting logical chain. If a country refuses an agreement, it means it cannot keep its word ... Is there anything that there is a mechanism for withdrawing from an agreement in any agreement, since those who conclude it understand that this agreement is beneficial for the country today and may not be beneficial tomorrow?
    There is always a sense to agree. Only any contract should be a compromise. Then they conclude him. If it gives one-sided advantages to one of the parties, they leave it. At least almost half a century of experience in treaties with the United States shows that they are trying to implement arms limitation treaties. There are violations on each side, but they are usually resolved by a joint commission or additional agreements.

    Now in the United States and Russia, the number of carriers and charges far exceeds that of other countries. Therefore, the desire to “fasten” some third country to the existing treaty, and sometimes all nuclear missiles, is nothing but earning political points. Such agreements are prepared "in silence" and for years, and not with a swoop.

    Quote: Aleksandr1971
    The fact that China does not join the strategic arms control treaty is good for China, but not good for Russia.
    How to combine the usefulness of Russia and China - that is the question?

    It depends on which agreement, the same INF Treaty (with technical specifications, as in the previous one) is partially beneficial to Russia, but not beneficial to China. The START-3 treaty is beneficial to China, but not beneficial to Russia. Plus, do not forget about other nuclear missile and threshold countries

    Quote: V.I.P.
    They can use short- and medium-range missiles only against the Russian Federation, India and Japan ..... Well, how many and what nobody really knows about them. They hide a lot of such weapons in the rocks. There are some thousand-kilometer tunnels built for these purposes. And why sign these agreements if they are violated when it is beneficial to anyone ...

    But what, the same reactors in China are already propagating by magic? Or does the number of missiles increase several times every year? Thousands of kilometers of underground workings and no one knows about them? Stupidity is utter. Can you imagine the speed of penetration in the rocky soil of a mechanized shield a little or not? There are underground shelters, of course, but not as large as they are presented from the side

    Quote: Aleksandr1971
    This confrontation is to some extent beneficial both to Russia and the United States. After all, if control over nuclear weapons in the world disappears, then not 5-10 countries, but all 190 countries will own these weapons. Then FIGs will understand whether it will be good if any Syria or Honduras has nuclear weapons. So while the United States has the opportunity to give small countries a head start so that they do not start nuclear weapons, Russia will not be a loser either.

    what good is that there will be a creep Yao no. And many writers say that it is necessary that Iran (Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, further - other countries) have Yao, which will lead to some inadequate ruler having a couple of YABZs trying to solve his problems with neighbors, which are the same amount. And it will break out in one place - it will catch fire in others. I am not at all attracted by the situation when not only Iran, but also Georgia, the Baltic states or Ukraine will have the same nuclear weapons.

    Quote: Operator
    For example, the United States can at any time install nuclear weapons W-3 with a capacity of 81 Kt on the SM-200 Block IIA anti-missile system (instead of the UKV kinetic interceptor weighing 130 kg)

    Learn the materiel, Andrey. In particular, what kind of missile is a kinetic interceptor weighing 130 kg. And on which 30 kg ...

    Quote: Nastia Makarova
    Why do they need Russia?

    Remember the words of Winston Cherchel about Britain. This expression is valid for any country, and for China incl.
    "...... (insert the desired country) there are no permanent friends and constant enemies. There are only permanent interests"