Work on the nuclear weapons program in China began in the middle of the 50-ies with the active participation of the Soviet Union, which by the time of the breakdown of bilateral ties in the scientific, technical, technological and military spheres transferred to the Chinese specialists most of the documentation on the development of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery and also provided significant assistance in laying the foundations of the PRC nuclear industry. This allowed China to complete its nuclear project on its own, crowned by the successful testing of the first Chinese nuclear device in 1964.
In order to better understand China’s current position on nuclear weapons, it is necessary to trace its development from the moment the Chinese leadership made a political decision to create them. This decision was most likely made during the Korean War, when, on the side of North Korea, regular operations of the PLA took an active part in fighting against the so-called UN forces led by the United States, effectively depriving the United States of the opportunity to win a quick and decisive victory in the war with acceptable for the American public losses.
Realizing that the colossal political and military efforts of the United States in the context of active military assistance to the DPRK by the USSR and the entry of the PRC into war with its virtually unlimited human resources will not lead to the planned results, Washington seriously considered the use of nuclear weapons against China. In the United States, a plan was adopted for delivering nuclear strikes not only on groups of Chinese people's volunteers in the territory of the DPRK, but also on the cities of the PRC. Naturally, in such conditions, the main motivation of the Chinese leadership to create nuclear weapons was an aspect related mainly to security, understood as a question of the existence of not only the regime of power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but also the survival of the Chinese nation. One cannot agree with the opinion of some Western experts that Mao Zedong, unlike Soviet and American leaders, never considered nuclear weapons as a key military factor that can have a decisive impact on the course and outcome of the war, and therefore its use in hostilities is never realistic not planned. The incorrectness of this statement becomes obvious if we recall the voiced by the Chinese leader at the Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties held in 1957 in Moscow. During the meeting, Mao Zedong called the atomic bomb a “paper tiger” and called not to be afraid of atomic war, which would finally put an end to imperialism. As a result, in his opinion, the prospects for the smooth construction of communism on a global scale will open.
It should nevertheless be recognized that the military aspect in the position of the Chinese leadership with regard to nuclear weapons in that period was still not dominant. Its formation was no less affected by the inferiority complex of China as a state, which was developed by its leadership in the process of unequal communication with Western countries, who viewed the Celestial Empire as an object of their expansion, ensuring the possibility of plundering this country with impunity and exploiting its enormous profit. This complex began to emerge as early as the period of the “opium wars”, received its further development during the years of the suppression of the boxing uprising, and strengthened significantly during the period of Japanese aggression at the end of the 30s.
The preservation of this complex was also facilitated by the Chinese military-political leadership’s feeling of its position in relations with the Soviet Union as a younger brother, that is, the subordinate role of Beijing in relation to Moscow in the 50-Soviet-Chinese alliance. As one Chinese scientist stated in a private conversation, “the assistance of the USSR during the heyday of Soviet-Chinese friendship to some extent insulted China, which historically positioned itself as a great power - the center of the world. This can explain the silence by Chinese historians of the significance of Soviet aid, both in the anti-Japanese war of the Chinese people, and in the victory of the forces headed by the CPC over the Kuomintang and in the post-war development of China. ” It should also be added that many Chinese scientists, for example, even in every way deny the significant role that the Soviet Union played in the process of the industrialization of the PRC, the creation of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, the implementation of the space program of their eastern neighbor, etc.
MODERN NUCLEAR DOCTRINE OF CHINA
Nuclear doctrine is an integral part of the state’s military doctrine, which sets out its official position on the use, development, deployment and security of nuclear weapons, as well as on the control of the proliferation and transfer (trading) of nuclear technologies and materials.
It should be noted that there is no official document titled “Military (or Nuclear) Doctrine”, in which the official position of the Chinese military-political leadership regarding nuclear weapons would be presented in a detailed manner, in the PRC. Nevertheless, it can be built in a fairly full form, based on the materials of the CPC congresses, the official speeches of Chinese leaders, international treaties signed by China, published by the Ministry of Defense of the PRC, White Books, articles of military scientists and other relevant materials.
The main provisions of modern nuclear doctrine of China in terms of the use of nuclear weapons are as follows.
First, China will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. It will never and under no circumstances use nuclear weapons and will not threaten their use with non-nuclear-weapon states or countries located in nuclear-weapon-free zones.
The adherence of the modern Chinese military-political leadership to this principle means that it views nuclear weapons more as a political tool that ensures the deterrence of potential adversaries from the use of weapons of mass destruction against the PRC, rather than as a real means of warfare, ensuring its victorious conclusion. China, which has the most numerous armed forces in the world, equipped with modern enough conventional weapons, as the military-political leadership and numerous experts, including foreign ones, consider to be able to secure a victory over any potential adversary in all directions around the perimeter of national borders without using nuclear weapons with an acceptable level of losses. The use of a nuclear weapon by a potential adversary largely deprives China of existing advantages. Moreover, in the conditions of the existing quantitative and qualitative superiority in nuclear weapons, the application of a massive disarming nuclear strike calls into question not only the possibility of achieving victory, but the very survival of China as a state.
Secondly, as a means of deterring, the nuclear potential of the PRC must have the ability to reliably inflict a potential adversary an unacceptable damage in a retaliatory strike.
Adherence to this principle means that China’s nuclear weapons, even after the first disarming strike, must retain their military stability, ensuring the ability to inflict unacceptable damage to the enemy in retaliation. Due to the fact that such a retaliatory strike will be inflicted by a substantially reduced outfit of the surviving nuclear weapons of the PRC, large cities and industrial areas of the latter should be the targets of such an unacceptable damage to the enemy.
Modernization and improvement of naval strategic nuclear forces is one of the priorities of China’s military development. Photos from the site
In the opinion of the Chinese military-political leadership, strengthening the military stability of nuclear forces and equipment under the conditions of a possible massive disarming strike of a potential enemy should be ensured through the implementation of the following measures: launching mobile equipment such as mobile strategic ground-based missile systems (PGRK) on combat duty; an increase in the number and increase of the combat capabilities of the naval strategic nuclear forces (NSNF); increasing the reliability of covering the positional areas of nuclear forces with anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems (air defense / missile defense); strengthening the protection of the positional areas of nuclear forces against the influence of the formations of the forces of the special operations of the enemy and terrorists; strengthening the security of mine launchers (silos) of ballistic missiles; increasing the reliability of combat control of nuclear forces and facilities; the creation and adoption of an anti-missile global anti-missile defense system; increasing the effectiveness of masking mine launchers and mobile ground-based missile systems. It can be assumed that in the interests of maintaining the retaliatory potential, China can create highly secure and hidden from the enemy nuclear weapons storage bases with the necessary infrastructure, allowing in a relatively short time after a massive disarming nuclear strike to partially restore the nuclear potential of the PRC and retaliate.
Certain adjustments to the content of China’s nuclear doctrine are made by various international treaties relating to nuclear weapons. In particular, the People's Republic of China in 1996 year signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Although the treaty has not been ratified, Beijing is in compliance with its provisions. China also in the 1992 year signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, in accordance with the provisions of which he committed himself not to transfer to any of the states of any nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices, and also to exercise strict control over such weapons or devices and in no way assist to condone or encourage any non-nuclear state to create or acquire nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.
According to the treaty, the PRC, like other nuclear states, was obligated never and under any circumstances to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear state or zone free of nuclear weapons.
At the same time, it should be noted that China, supporting the efforts of the Soviet Union and the United States, and then Russia and the United States to reduce their offensive nuclear weapons, refuses to join this process, at least until these nuclear arsenals the two largest nuclear powers of the world in quantitative terms will not be comparable with the Chinese.
ASSESSMENT BY CHINESE LEADERSHIP OF MILITARY THREATS OF THE PRC
The issue of mutual threat in relations between Russia and China is completely and completely removed, which is accordingly enshrined at the contractual and legal level. The Joint Declaration on the Fundamentals of Relations between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China of December 18 on 1992 stresses that "all disputed issues between the two states will be resolved by peaceful means." Both sides have committed themselves that they “will not resort to force or threat of force in any form against each other, including with the use of territories, territorial waters and airspace of third countries ... none of the Parties will participate in any military-political alliances directed against the other Party, enter into any agreements and treaties with third countries that are detrimental to the state sovereignty and security interests of the other Party ”.
A practical confirmation of the absence of a mutual threat factor was the signing between the two countries of September 3 1994 of the Joint Statement on the mutual non-targeting of strategic nuclear weapons and the non-first use of nuclear weapons against each other.
Another important step towards increasing confidence in the military field was the signing during the October 2009 of the official visit to China of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to China on the mutual information on ballistic missile launches.
In turn, the conclusion of 16 on July 2001 of the Treaty on Good Neighborhood, Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China marked a qualitatively new stage in the development of partnership relations between our two states.
In the Moscow Joint Statement of the Heads of State of Russia and China on July 16, 2001, the Treaty is referred to as the “policy document defining the development of Russian-Chinese relations in the new century ...”. In it "the peaceful ideology of the two states and their peoples is enshrined in legal form: forever friends and never enemies."
At the same time, the Chinese leadership, as is clear from the statements of Chinese officials, materials of the CPC congresses and the works of Chinese military theorists, at the current stage regards the USA as a nuclear superpower representing the main threat to the PRC. China’s political and military leadership proceeds from the assumption that the United States, trying to maintain its global hegemony achieved by the geopolitical defeat of the Soviet Union, providing America with favorable conditions for its own prosperity and development by exploiting the resources of other countries, including China, will use all available means to preserve and strengthen this situation.
Due to the fact that China in the last decade has made a powerful breakthrough in the economic, technological and military sphere and in terms of basic development indicators, the United States is catching up, in Washington, according to the Chinese leadership, China is considered the only state in the modern world that can challenge American global hegemony. The latter, in the eyes of the American ruling elite, automatically makes the PRC one of the main targets of hostile foreign policy, economic and military actions by Washington, as well as allied countries and countries oriented towards it.
COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE OF NUCLEAR MEANS OF THE PRC
It should be emphasized that the Chinese military-political leadership believes that the United States, as a means of exerting pressure on China, can blackmail it with the threat of using nuclear weapons, and in exceptional cases can even go for direct use of nuclear weapons against China. Especially in the case of creating a high-performance global US missile defense system capable of ensuring the security of the United States and its allies with a sufficient degree of reliability.
Based on this conclusion, the Chinese political and military leadership determines the structure of its nuclear arsenal and the main directions of its development for the medium and long term.
The strategic nuclear forces of the PRC are intended to deter potential adversaries from carrying out a large-scale attack on the PRC using weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They include land, sea and air components.
The ground component of the Chinese strategic nuclear forces is represented by the Strategic Missile Forces (SRV) or the Second Artillery Corps, which is a type of armed forces of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA), intended to be used in the event of aggression against the PRC using WMD nuclear weapons on enemy targets together with naval strategic nuclear forces and strategic aviationas well as for warning of a missile attack, constant monitoring and control of near-Earth space, the destruction of spacecraft and ballistic missiles of the enemy, ensuring the operational and combat activities of troops (forces) in theaters of operations, space reconnaissance, and ensuring the functioning of multi-level information switching network of communication control systems, target designation intelligence and computer systems.
According to the directory of The Military balance for 2013 year, currently in service with the "Second Artillery Corps" (Strategic Missile Forces) PLA has 470 missile systems of different ranges. Of these: intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) - 72, including 10 - Dong Feng DF-4 (CSS-3), 20 - DF-5A (CSS-4Mod2) of mine-based, with a range of up to 13 and 000, which is up to the 12; rocket complexes DF-31 (CSS-9) and 30 of similar complexes like DF-31A (CSS-9Mod2) with a range of up to 8000 km.
The most modern of the complexes with intercontinental ballistic missiles are PGRK type DF-31 of various modifications that can hit even targets located on the east coast of the United States. In addition, in July, the 2012 of the year, according to US intelligence sources, China has successfully tested the latest intercontinental ballistic missile of extra-long range, capable of striking virtually any point in the United States.
Intermediate-range ballistic missiles DF3A (CSS-2) with a range of 5500 km of Chinese strategic nuclear forces, there are two units, while medium-range ballistic missiles - 122, including: several DF-16, about 80 mobile ground-based missile systems DF- 21 / DF-21A (CSS-5Mod1 / 2), approximately 36 DF-21C (CSS-5Mod3) and 6 DF-21D (CSS5Mod4) with a range of 1800 km.
China’s short-range ballistic missiles (less than 1800 km) have 252 units, including: DF-108A / M-11A 11 missiles (CSS-7Mod2), as well as DF-144 / M-15 missiles (CSS-9) ).
Land-based cruise missiles of the type CJ-10 (DH-10) in China are 54 units.
The naval component of the Strategic Nuclear Forces of China is represented by four nuclear submarines armed with ballistic missiles (SSBNs), including: one Xia type (SSN-029) SSBN equipped with an XLUMX SLBM JL-12 (CSS-N-1) and three atomic strategic Jin-type submarines (Type-3), which have up to 094 SLBMs JL-12 (CSS-NX-2) with a range of 4 km. At the same time, according to the London Institute for Strategic Studies, the third and fourth strategic submarine missile carriers are in the final stages of construction.
The air component of the strategic nuclear triad of China includes several missile carriers of the latest modification Hun-6K with a combat radius increased to 3500 km. These aircraft are capable of carrying three air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) and, according to reports, are intended to use new air-launched CJ-10A cruise missiles with a range of 2500 km. All in all, the PLA Air Force currently has 82 bomber Hun-6 of various modifications, although the exact number of missile carriers capable of solving strategic tasks associated with the use of long-range air-launched cruise missiles.
With the strengthening of its economic and military potential, China is increasingly decisively protecting its national interests in the international arena. Anticipating the possibility of tough opposition to such a course on the part of the United States, which under certain conditions does not preclude the use of force pressure on the PRC, including its nuclear blackmail, the Chinese military-political leadership pays serious attention to solving the task of increasing the capabilities of national armed forces, including strategic nuclear forces, to deter such aggressive inclinations. At the same time, official Beijing, in our opinion, is still trying not to go beyond maintaining the minimum level of its strategic nuclear forces necessary for deterring first of all the United States, in the conditions of the development of promising strategic means by the latter, including both space attack systems and the creation of global missile defense system.