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Deterrence or domination? The escalation of the nuclear arms race between the United States and China – Organization for World Peace


After a five-year hiatus,The United States and China took a tentative step toward thawing relations by holding informal talks on nuclear arms control in March, as Reuters reported.These hidden discussions,shrouded in secrecy,aimed to address growing concerns on both sides. One of the main concerns of the United States was China's commitment to its long-standing policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and minimal deterrence. This means having just enough nuclear weapons to deter an attack, not achieve nuclear domination.

US officials reportedly sought assurances that China would not resort to nuclear threats,especially in a potential conflict around Taiwan,which China claims as its territory. Chinese representatives offered assurances,stating that they were confident of winning a conventional fight against Taiwan without resorting to nuclear weapons.However,Reuters says: this commitment comes at a time when China is experiencing rapid nuclear expansion. The Pentagon estimates that China's nuclear arsenal has increased by more than 20% in just two years, which, combined with a lack of modernization efforts and transparency, is fueling U.S. suspicion of China .

Tong Zhao to Foreign Affairs argues that China's rapid nuclear expansion under President Xi Jinping is driven by a desire for geopolitical influence and a response to perceived threats from the United States. This buildup, expected to reach 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, is a departure from China's historically restrained nuclear strategy. U.S. policymakers, concerned about this shift, must understand China's motivations, which are rooted in the belief that nuclear power will force Washington to respect China's growing power and strategic interests. The author argues that Xi's approach is based more on political intuition than military necessity, leading to a dangerous escalation of nuclear rivalry. The United States should seek dialogue with China to address mutual security concerns and establish fair and stable regional rules of conduct, thereby preventing a worsening of the arms race and promoting mutual understanding. The author emphasizes that cooperative measures, rather than unilateral military responses, are crucial to easing tensions and ensuring long-term security.

Informal nuclear arms control negotiations between the United States and China mark an important but cautious step toward easing bilateral tensions. Despite China's assurances to adhere to its no-first-use policy and rely on conventional military force in Taiwan, there are legitimate concerns about the rapid expansion of its nuclear arsenal. This development highlights the need for transparency and mutual trust in resolving these issues. The United States must prioritize clear communication and sustained diplomatic efforts to mitigate misunderstandings and prevent an escalation of nuclear rivalry. It is crucial that the two countries engage in meaningful dialogue that takes into account each other's security concerns and promotes cooperation rather than competition. Establishing a framework of mutual restraint and transparency will not only help stabilize the regional balance of power, but will also contribute to global security. The way forward lies in cooperative measures that build confidence and limit the impetus for increased nuclear development.

The nuclear story between the United States and China has evolved significantly from the Cold War to the present, reflecting changes in geopolitical dynamics and strategic priorities. Initially, after China's first nuclear test in 1964, the United States' nuclear priority remained on the Soviet Union. During this period, China maintained a modest nuclear arsenal under a no-first-use policy and a strategy of minimum deterrence. This approach was designed to ensure credible deterrence without the need to match the expansive arsenals of the United States or the Soviet Union, thereby avoiding an arms race and reducing the risk of nuclear escalation.

In the post-Cold War era, as the United States modernized its arsenal, China saw a growing need to do the same to maintain credible deterrence. Under President Xi Jinping, China has embarked on a rapid and substantial expansion of its nuclear arsenal, marking a significant shift in its nuclear strategy. This accelerated rise reflects China's strategic response to what it perceives as growing threats from the United States, including advances in military technology and strategic postures that Beijing sees as likely to compromise its security. . Xi's administration aims to strengthen China's geopolitical influence by expanding and modernizing its nuclear capabilities, signaling a more assertive position on the global stage. The shift has sparked new concerns in Washington, as the United States grapples with the implications of a more formidable Chinese nuclear force. The rapid expansion of China's nuclear arsenal under Xi Jinping underscores the urgency of sustained dialogue and transparency between the two powers. Without such measures, the risk of miscalculations and escalation could increase, destabilizing not only regional but also global security.

China's growing nuclear ambitions and corresponding concerns in the United States underscore a perilous juncture for global security. The resumption of informal talks on nuclear arms control is a tentative but necessary step toward diffusing this looming threat. However, the stakes are incredibly high. SpectrumA nuclear arms race between two of the world's most powerful nations could have catastrophic consequences, not only for those countries but for the entire planet. Nuclear weapons, with their unprecedented destructive capacity, represent an existential threat that transcends borders and ideologies. The mere existence of such arsenals increases the risk of miscalculation or accidental launch, which could cause devastation on a scale never before seen by humanity.

The concept of nuclear war is not only unjust, it is fundamentally unjust, as it would result in indiscriminate loss of life, environmental ruin and long-term global destabilization. The United States and China must recognize the seriousness of this situation and commit to transparent and cooperative measures to avoid an arms race. The world watches with bated breath, hoping that these deliberations will evolve into actions that prioritize mutual security and peace. Only through sustained and serious efforts can we hope to move away from the brink of nuclear catastrophe and toward a more stable and secure future.




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