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Nuke deterrent ensures long-term security

By Sun Peisong Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-18 21:20:10

China should insist on sticking to the theory of nuclear deterrence. Without authentic and reliable strategic deterrent forces, China's peaceful rise can only be a theoretical pursuit.

US conservative strategists believe in the inevitable competition of great powers. As early as 2002 when the US slogan of a "pivot to Asia" first appeared, the US deployed five ballistic missile nuclear submarines to the Pacific from the Atlantic to increase coverage of its deterrence of China.

Until 2008, more than 60 percent ballistic missile nuclear submarine cruises by the US had overtones of deterrence in the Pacific while in the 1980s, this number was only 15 percent.

Military preparations aimed at China have become more high-profile since US President Barack Obama took office. The US has also strengthened its relationship with traditional allies and built military networks with new allies. It plans multidirectional and multilevel deployment of military forces to strategic points around China.

According to the viewpoint of a balance of power, China should deploy forces to North America and the Caribbean to reach a "balance." However, currently, China cannot compete with the US on a military basis. Therefore, China should have weapons that could be an ace in the hole. Although China's conventional weapons have developed rapidly, China and the US are still about 20 years apart in this field.

The US and Japan have reached the agreement to expend X-band missile radar in southern Japan to deal with China. If the US also deploys forces in the Philippines, a triangle will have been shaped by US deployment in southern Japan, Guam and the Philippines. So in construction of its nuclear deterrence, China should consider the risks caused by the US anti-missile system as a long-term strategic focus.

Only nuclear weapons can force the US to use methods other than starting wars to compete with China. Without deterrent capability, China's security can only rely on US good intentions and restraint. However, looking at US political ethics and US history, we cannot find these virtues.

Obama had given the vision of a non-nuclear world. But it is of no significance for a power to abandon nuclear weapons because these weapons can be remanufactured in a short time.

China has long taken a restrained attitude toward the development of nuclear weapons. However, its proper development of nuclear forces originated from its wariness toward the absolute US nuclear advantage.

The author is director of the Jiangsu Lianyungang Development Research Institute. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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