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China to ramp up its nuclear weapons, in the interests of its own survival

March 2, 2021 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French nuclear attack submarine patrolling South China Sea 

February 11, 2021 Posted by | China, France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How the United States can chart a new path that avoids war with China

How the United States can chart a new path that avoids war with China

By Henry BienenJeremiah Ostriker | February 3, 2021 The Biden administration has said that it will conduct a full review of trade and economic relations with China. It needs, actually, to conduct a review of all aspects of Sino-American relations: trade; technology; cultural, student, and scientific exchanges; and above all, security. There is room for vast improvement in all these realms, but the most pressing (and potentially dangerous) area involves security.

Relations between China and the United States have degenerated so far that some foreign policy experts now believe that war between the countries is possible. While this is a minority view, it is a dangerous one.

In the past, a US-China war was often considered unlikely for reasons of mutual economic interdependence and nuclear deterrence, not to mention the huge costs of war. Moreover, it has been said, ideological conflict and regional and international striving for advantage are not reasons enough for war. But now more pessimistic voices are also being heard. Citing pre-World War I analogies, in which it was (quite inaccurately) said that economic interdependence among European powers made war impossible, and noting what Harvard University’s Graham Allison has called the “Thucydides Trap,” in which there is a drift towards war when an emerging power threatens to displace an existing leading power, some believe war between China and the United States is becoming more conceivable and even probable.

We are concerned with the current direction of US-China’s policies, but we believe that the pessimists both overstate the possibility of a US-China war and understate the consequences of possible armed conflict. The production of so-called “small” nuclear weapons is given as a reason for the possibility of war without massive destruction. Nuclear war among nuclear powers has not occurred since the spread of nuclear weapons precisely because destruction would be huge and ghastly. But even lower-yield nuclear weapons nonetheless are quite deadly; each has the destructive potential of thousands of WWII airplane bombs. We cannot tell how limited the use of such weapons would be in advance of armed conflict, and, since Chinese missiles can reach our shores, we do not know if such a conflict could be contained.

There are other reasons for thinking war between China and the United States not only should be but will be avoided.   We have past experience to warn us. The United States and China fought in the Korean War when US forces pushed to the Yalu River on China’s border. We know how that turned out. We also note that the United States did not send a land army to North Vietnam after China warned that the first US troops in North Vietnam would be met by Chinese “volunteers.” Lesson learned.

What points of conflict does the United States have with China that could actually lead to war? We can find only one, and it has nothing to do with trade, economic competition, ideology, human rights violations by China, or struggle for relative power in Asia or elsewhere. Taiwan is the critical point of conflict. China asserts its historical right to Taiwan as an integral part of China. The United States is committed to the principle that Taiwan’s relationship with China cannot be changed by force. Thus, how much military assistance to give to Taiwan, if China uses blockades or applies military force, is a critical issue for US policy. How and in what way to defend Taiwan loom as large questions. To do nothing in the face of Chinese military threats would not only call into question US commitments everywhere but might well lead to nuclear proliferation in Asia. What lessons would Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, perhaps Vietnam and Indonesia take? Taiwan itself has the capacity to build nuclear weapons and could do so, if the United States made clear that it would not respond to threats against Taiwan.

We do not minimize the difficulty of the Taiwan issue. There needs to be both clarity and ambiguity in how the United States deals with Taiwan. The United States needs to make clear that if China uses force against Taiwan there will be severe consequences. But we cannot in advance specify the consequences. We do not think war with China is probable over Taiwan. But we admit to the difficulties of finding the right policies in this area. We propose the following: As Joseph Nye noted recently in the Wall Street Journal, in consultation with China, the Biden administration should review policies for accident avoidance, crisis management, and high-level communications. Military-to-military relations already exist, and we do not know the details of them. But we suspect that the Trump administration let lapse, or weakened, constant communications and accident-avoidance protocols. These must be maintained and strengthened.

Arms sales to Taiwan are sensitive. Our aim is to avoid an invasion of Taiwan, and thus sales of missiles and technologies for defensive purposes seem right. We must make clear that we would work to circumvent a blockade of Taiwan. But obviously, Taiwan is not Berlin during the Cold War, and airlifts would have limited utility. Thus, it is the avoidance of a blockade that must be worked toward. And here, we need allies and friends in Asia and beyond to support the position that such a blockade would be disastrous for China’s economy and trade worldwide.

We can find no other issues where war could plausibly arise between China and the United States. And we reassert that any armed conflict could lead to a global catastrophe. In a more positive vein, the United States should be finding new paths to both cooperate and compete with China. The demonization of China—as per Donald Trump’s “China virus” and Secretary of State Pompeo’s bellicose language—are misguided and counterproductive. The two countries need to cooperate on climate and environmental issues and on the pandemic and other health matters. 

Decoupling the economies of the United States and China would be very difficult, very expensive, and very foolish, as the Trump administration found out. It continued to want to export agricultural goods to China, and where it imposed tariffs, they raised costs to US consumers and manufacturers. We need to challenge China over its trade policies, but the best way to do that is to strengthen the US domestic economy and invest in education and technology innovation and research. So much of our vaunted technological progress has come from government investment. We should renew our government support for advanced research and technology, rather than faulting the Chinese for imitating our past actions. For but one example, consider how the internet was developed in the 1970s.

The United States has benefitted from an infusion of Chinese undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Undergraduates pay tuition; graduate students and post-grad medical and science researchers have strengthened the quality of universities and research centers. Most universities do not host classified research on their main campuses. Of course, there are dual-use technologies that can be copied or stolen. But the United States has gained from having Chinese scholars and students and researchers come to our shores. Many stay as productive and important citizens. As was the case with students and researchers from other countries in the past, many who return home see themselves as friends of the United States and hope for a more positive turn in Sino-American relations.

We now should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And we should form alliances and cooperative endeavors with China’s neighbors on trade, climate, health and regional conflict issues. And here we include Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, as well as India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea. China’s push into Asia and Africa via its Road and Belt Initiative has not been a huge success. But here too the US could be more active and constructive with its own health and development policies abroad. The most useful thing that we could do to combat climate change would be to help the underdeveloped world move from coal and oil to renewable energy.

Above all, a strong and confident United States can compete and cooperate with China without conjuring up new enemies, or creating a new Cold War.


February 9, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

UK universities partnering with Chinese technology companies may be breaching national security rules

Times 8th Feb 2021, It took a letter from Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons foreign
affairs committee, to alert Manchester University to the fact that a
Chinese company with which it was collaborating was implicated in
Beijing’s persecution of the Uighurs.
The university, which cut off ties with China Electronics Technology Corporation (CETC) last week, said that the letter was the first credible information that it had received about
its partner’s role in providing surveillance technology used to spy on
China’s Muslim minority.
That is surprising given that two Australian
universities cut off links with CETC in 2019 after similar warnings. But
what is more troubling is that Manchester appears to be far from alone in
partnering with Chinese companies with defence links on cutting-edge
scientific research. Indeed the Foreign Office is investigating more than a
dozen universities for possible breaches of national security rules. 

February 9, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, technology, UK | Leave a comment

What is the ”acceptable” death toll for China (and others) in planning for nuclear war?

February 7, 2021 Posted by | China, India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China rejects reports of hitch in investment pact talks with EU

China rejects reports of hitch in investment pact talks with EU, By Reuters Staff 25 Dec 20, 

BERLIN/BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday denied that talks on an investment pact between the European Union and China had run into complications due to Chinese demands on nuclear power investment.

Negotiations have stalled at the last stretch because China is raising additional demands on nuclear energy, German magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported on Wednesday.

“As I understand, talks are goings smoothly,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a news briefing on Thursday.

“The news about talks being stuck because China has put up more requests about nuclear energy is fake,” Wang said.

He did not deny or confirm that China had made fresh demands on nuclear energy investment.

The issue of nuclear power is controversial among EU countries because such investments could put sensitive infrastructure under Chinese control………

December 25, 2020 Posted by | China, politics international | Leave a comment

China has 350 nuclear warheads, compared to USA and Russia’s many thousands of them

Report estimates Chinese nuclear stockpile at 350 warheads, Defense News,By: Mike Yeo 14 Dec 20,   MELBOURNE, Australia — A paper published by the Chicago, Illinois-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has estimated that China has 350 nuclear warheads, significantly more than that estimated by the U.S. Defense Department.

The report, written by Hans Kristensen, the director at the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, and Matt Korda, a research associate at FAS, arrived at the number by counting both operational warheads and newer weapons “still in development.”…….

 the report noted that the size of the Chinese nuclear stockpile is still significantly below that of the United States and Russia, which have thousands of nuclear weapons in their respective stockpiles. The authors wrote that claims by the Trump administration’s special envoy for arms control, Marshall Billingslea, that China is striving for a form of “nuclear parity” with the U.S. and Russia “appears to have little basis in reality.”

It also added that China has traditionally maintained a low alert level for its nuclear forces, with most warheads at a central storage facility and smaller numbers kept in regional equivalents…….

China refers to its nuclear posture as at a “moderate state of alert,” with the report suggesting that in peacetime this “might involve designated units to be deployed in high combat-ready condition with nuclear warheads in nearby storage sites under control of the Central Military Commission that could be released to the unit quickly if necessary.”

December 15, 2020 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China’s changing aims for nuclear weapons

December 7, 2020 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China-India competition is not likely to lead to a nuclear weapons exchange

October 30, 2020 Posted by | China, India, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear pollution in China – the Uighur people pay the health and environmental price

Nuclear imperialism in China’s Xinjiang, Observer Research Foundation,TARA RAO,  19 Oct 20, 

A third of the PRCs uranium for nuclear energy comes from extortion in the Yili basin of Xinjiang. This is also home to a great population of Uighurs.

Today, China has one of the world’s largest nuclear energy development programmes. During the Cold War era, there did not exist a political or economic motivator for commercialising nuclear energy as coal-fired power stations and hydroelectric energy dominated the system. However, after 2005, China has been able to reinvent this narrative. Notably, what this resurrected was a reassertion of spaces of injustice for their minorities. Their lands were first grounds for nuclear weapons’ testing and now used for energy rather than warfare purposes, thus continuing a historical subjugation to nuclear imperialism. This nuclear imperialism situates itself within an already prevalent cyclic violence against China’s far western frontier region of Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities, the predominantly Muslim Uighurs, ever since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.

Given the inherent differentiation between the Uighurs and the Chinese dominant ethnicity, the Hans, the former’s identity was always up for scrutiny. The government came down particularly hard on the Uighurs after the events of 9/11 initiated the Global War on Terror (GWOT), as well as the Ürümqi riots on 5 July 2009 which saw clashes between protesting Uighurs, Han people, and China’s People’s Armed Police, leaving nearly 200 people dead in Xinjiang. The Chinese government has attributed security concerns with the certain ‘terrorist’ acts committed by a handful of them. Taking what some might perceive as an opportunist stand, China was able to claim being victim to global terrorism, to justify crackdown on the minority group. What this terrorist narrative in turn ushered in was a transnational territory of uncontrolled spaces where ‘dangerous populations’ need not be afforded legal protections and therefore be made to quarantine; containing their actions that often correspond to security threats. The antagonism was not restricted to the few Uighurs rioters. Instead the entire Uighur community as a single biological group was treated as the Homo Sacer.

………….. The systematic discrimination of the Uighur feeds into a larger understanding of necro-politics of Uighur lives having become too consequential juxtaposed with a system which is ready to dispense with this minority population. The emphasis here is on China’s first nuclear weapons test in Lop Nor, and the legacy it has translated onto the present day context through states sponsored uranium mining in the Yili Basin, underscoring a new kind of imperialism.

Nuclear weapon testing began in the mid-1960s. Soon a kind of nuclear imperialism started to take root in the existing Han colonisation of Uighur spaces. The latter revolved around a combination of contestation over the sovereignty of the Uighur homeland and the resource-rich soils they inhabited. The aftermath of the Sino-Soviet split meant a collapse in PRCs nuclear relationship with China which acted as a driver for hastening and furthering their ambitious nuclear programmes. The PRC became the fifth nation to develop nuclear weapons during the Cold War. They formally established the 10,000 km sq. Lop Nor Nuclear Test base in 1956. It still stands as the largest site of its kind in the world………

Professor Jun Takada conducted a study explaining how peak levels of radioactivity from large yield tests might have had prolonged consequences in the biological makeup of the generations to come observing congenital defects and cancer incidents in some. The cancer incidents in the region were approximately 35% higher than the rest of the state. Uighur traditional medicine could not cope with these cases. In short, a biopolitical regime protected the state from liability, meanwhile for the Uighurs, contestation around state assurance and health risks posed a blurring in the causation between sickness and exposition.

The Uighurs who were affected by the Lop Nor test therefore have been given no compensation or recognition from the state. Many Hans on the other hand were given assurance from the state especially in terms of healthcare on various occasions. This only furthered the resentment and tension between the Hans and the Uighurs of Xinjiang in the years to come.

Following this, peaceful protests sprung up. In November 1985, protests led by students in Beijing against nuclear weapon tests were met with brute state coercion. In 1993, Uighurs gathered at Log Nor and demanded the ban of nuclear testing but were interrupted by PLA forces, some protestors were shot in the process. The Tigers of Lop Nor were an organisation that even managed to send tanks inside nuclear spaces and blew up planes in protest. Moreover, enveloped in this environment, the Uighur identity that already clashed with Han nationalism was simply made starker; the anti-nuclear movement began to echo separatist tendencies.

Today, a third of the PRCs uranium for nuclear energy comes from extortion in the Yili basin of Xinjiang. This is also home to a great population of Uighurs. The PRC has placed a moratorium on the manufacturing of fissile material for deterrence purposes, transforming Xinjiang into the primary hub for the nuclear energy industry. The NINT continues to partake in nuclear research, to the north of the Lop Nor test site. There is no state system in place to ensure the safety of those dwelling the Yili. What this reflects is a revival of a past narrative of nuclear imperialism as uranium energy extraction seems to have overtaken nuclear testing. There appears to be no incentive from the ends of the government; a lacking in enforceable nuclear legislations and regional systems of monitoring and regulating nuclear activity. …….

. China now possesses over 44 nuclear reactors in operation and 18 others under construction and is striving towards ensuring that 1/5th of their energy comes from their power plants by 2030. Activism from the minorities in the region is often counted by officials as acts of Islamism or cultural protests rather than a legacy of activities against the nuclear industry which is another layer of discrimination that has been recognised by the Uighurs.

More anti-nuclear activism seems to be entering the eastern provinces of Shandong, Jiangsu, and Guangdong as a result of general community concerns against an unprotected nuclear policy. Online petitions and active media are slowly entering the scene to influence and mobilise public opinion. However, it is only perhaps a matter of time before the PRC silences them too.

Censorship is often used to subdue this kind of opposition online. What is worse is that the Uighurs of Xinjiang lack the agency to voice their grievances while practitioners in the east who are often familiar with the political systems and often well-educated are able to make negotiations with the state in terms of the relocation of nuclear power plants. ………


October 20, 2020 Posted by | China, civil liberties | Leave a comment

China’s world-leading push for solar and wind energy

Renew Extra 17th Oct 2020, Renewables have been accelerating ahead in China, which is adding far more
capacity each year than any other country, with over 760GW installed so
far. By contrast, the EU has only managed 500GW, the USA 250 GW.
However, the pace of expansion in China has slowed of late. Annual onshore wind
capacity additions in China are expected to fall by over 16% to 19 GW from
2020 to 2021, given the Chinese government’s decision to end subsidies,
say analysts Wood Mackenzie.
Even so, over the next decade Wood Mac expect
250 GW of wind capacity to be added, with repowering opportunities onshore
and growth potential offshore. Indeed, some see the latter booming
dramatically. So, while wind subsidies will fall by 3.2%, wind capacity
will still grow, and PV solar seem likely to do even better: incentives for
PV will rise by 14%, with some seeing solar as the major growth area longer
term, helping China get 62% of its power from non-fossil sources by 2030.

October 20, 2020 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

China backs Iran nuclear deal, calls for new MidEast forum

China backs Iran nuclear deal, calls for new MidEast forum Bangkok Post, : 11 OCT 2020 BEIJING: China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has called for a new forum to defuse tensions in the Middle East after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart where he reiterated Beijing’s support for Tehran.

Wang and Javid Zarif also reaffirmed their commitment to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, according to the Chinese foreign ministry, an implicit rebuke of the United States for abandoning the accord during their Saturday meeting in China’s southwestern Tengchong city.

Iran has been locked in an acrimonious relationship with Saudi Arabia, the other major Middle Eastern power, over the war in Yemen, Iranian influence in Iraq and Saudi support for Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.

“China proposes to build a regional multilateral dialogue platform with equal participation of all stakeholders,” said the Chinese foreign ministry statement. ……

October 12, 2020 Posted by | China, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

China’s plan for dramatic switch to climate action and renewable energy

October 10, 2020 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Near to flaspoint – disputes between India, Pakistan,China

October 1, 2020 Posted by | China, India, Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

It’s important to dispel three persistent myths about China’s nuclear weapons


  ” ………….. As China’s growing nuclear forces have garnered new attention, so have some persistent myths about them. There are many legitimate concerns about China’s nuclear arsenal. China’s nuclear expansion and modernization is loosening longstanding technical constraints that have guided the country’s nuclear policies. The potential entanglement of Chinese conventional and nuclear forces raises the risks of misperception leading to nuclear first use in a crisis or conflict. And China’s opacity in the nuclear domain exacerbates dangerous misperceptions and misunderstandings between Washington and Beijing. Unfortunately, these real risks are frequently overshadowed by more dubious claims. Too many analysts have focused on the wrong problems when it comes to China’s nuclear forces, including claims that China is hiding a vast nuclear warhead stockpile, that its no-first-use policy is a sham, and that it has developed and fielded tactical nuclear weapons. The misguided focus on these claims can exacerbate distrust, heighten threat perceptions, and make it more difficult to address more genuine concerns. Three myths in particular deserve attention.
Three Persistent Myths About China’s Nukes

……….While the Cold War superpowers engaged in arms racing, China committed to building a “lean and effective” force. Since obtaining a nuclear weapons capability, China has publicly claimed a categorical no-first-use  policy and has asserted that “China does not engage in any nuclear arms race with any other country and keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security.”

…………  The first myth is that China maintains a vast hidden arsenal of potentially thousands of nuclear warheads in the country’s underground tunnels…….

There is, however, little evidence to support these claims……..
The second myth about China’s nuclear forces is that Beijing’s no-first-use policy is a fraud.   …….
But evidence from public and classified Chinese military texts reaffirming the no-first-use policy suggests that no-first-use is still intact.  …….
The third myth is that China has developed and deployed an array of nuclear war-fighting capabilities, including tactical nuclear weapons. While there is no strict definition of tactical nuclear weapon, they are usually defined as lower-yield warheads affixed to shorter-range delivery vehicles and intended for use against military targets on the battlefield or other high-value theater targets. …….
More than three decades ago, U.S. intelligence estimates were predicting that China would soon field these kinds of capabilities. But 35 years later, those predictions have yet to come true as Defense Department and independent assessments of China’s capabilities continue to make no mention of deployed tactical nuclear weapons.

Misplaced Attention: The Real Risks of Beijing’s Nukes

Although there is little evidence to support claims that China possesses a vast covert nuclear arsenal, that its no-first-use policy is a sham, or that it has developed an extensive array of tactical nuclear weapons, there are still several reasons to be concerned about China’s nuclear forces. Unlike the above myths, which often focus on China’s force modernization and potential arms racing dynamics, these legitimate concerns often relate to actual nuclear use………..

Misplaced Attention: The Real Risks of Beijing’s Nukes………..

Addressing the Risks

These myths can exacerbate dangerous nuclear dynamics between China and the United States. The belief that China’s no-first-use policy is a sham increases the risk of Washington misidentifying a Chinese signal of resolve as preparations for a nuclear strike………

The myths can also hobble efforts to address more legitimate risks. Many of these risks, particularly those rooted in different perceptions, could be mitigated through formal dialogue. Beijing and Washington can share and refine understandings about escalation dynamics or their aims in a crisis or conflict. But misperception and miscommunication, sometimes rooted in the very myths discussed above, can make it difficult carry out such dialogues…………

Perhaps most significantly, a misguided focus on the myths could, perversely, make those myths realities. ……….

fixating on poorly sourced or unfounded claims makes any dialogue both less likely to occur and less effective if it does happen. There are enough real concerns about China’s nuclear modernization that need to be addressed without being distracted by myths.


September 24, 2020 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment