By Andrew Carpenter and Ulrika Grufman
(For more information on this feature, see here.)
And this Friday’s in the weeds theoretical/conceptual articles on nuclear weapons and related issues include…
Sigal, L. V., 2011. Political Prospects for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in Northeast Asia. Pacific Focus. XXXVI: 1, April 2011. pp22-36.
“A Northeast Asian nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) or a Japan–South Korea NWFZ could help entice the DPRK to carry out its commitment in the September 2005 Six-Party Joint Statement to “abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs”. (p.22).
In this article, Leon Sigal, makes the argument that a Northeast Asian or a Japan-South Korea nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) would be beneficial for security in the region. In his opinion, there are two possible scenarios for the nuclear future of North Korea: containment or gradual rapprochement with its neighbours and the US. A regional NWFZ would be favourable could support either scenario. Political, economic and military containment is the strategy which the US and its allies have used against North Korea since the end of the Cold War. If this strategy, which has proven not to be very successful since North Korea has developed a nuclear capability, continues then a NWFZ between Japan and South Korea would strengthen containment. However, it could also lead the way to rapprochement since it would move in the direction of satisfying “Pyongyang’s longstanding demand for nuclear reassurances”. Sigal concludes that the NWFZ would be more viable if China and Russia join the pact, but that they probably will not do so without a commitment from the US. Although Sigal appears to doubt that this will happen soon, he believes that we are moving in the right direction and that beginning discussions between South Korea and Japan would be an advantageous starting point.
Fravel, T.M. & Medeiros, E.S., 2010. China’s Search for Assured Retaliation: the Evolution of Chinese Force Structure. International Security. XXXV:2 Fall 2010. Pp 48-87.
“China’s leaders have never equated the size of their arsenal with China’s national power. Instead, to be seen as powerful and to deter attacks against it, China needs only a small number of nuclear weapons.”
In the article “China’s Search for Assured Retaliation the Evolution of Chinese Force Structure” M. Taylor Fravel and Evan S. Medeiros attempt to determine why China has not built a larger nuclear force. They determine that China’s leaders have simple views of the role of nuclear weapons (2010, 85). China’s leaders lacked the experience needed to fully utilize nuclear weapons in their national strategy. Fravel and Medeiros found that while China has put more attention into developing their nuclear program, they still hold to their early leader’s belief in an assured second strike capability and the importance of conventional land forces. Instead of increasing the size of China’s nuclear arsenal, Chinese leaders have focused on making their nuclear deterrent more difficult to destroy by emphasizing mobile launchers.
Zhang, B., 2011. U.S. missile defence and China’s nuclear posture: changing dynamics of an offence-defence arms race. International Affairs. LXXXVII: 3 May 2011. Pp. 555-569.
“The rise of U.S. missile defence has altered the rationale for the force development of the Chinese nuclear deterrent. (2010, pg. 561)”
In the article “U.S. missile defence and China’s nuclear posture: changing dynamics of an offence–defence arms race” Baohui Zhang explores the consequences of increasing the capability of the United States’ missile defence capabilities on China’s nuclear force. Zhang finds that China’s current force structure is designed for a limited second strike capability, allowing it to have a smaller, more mobile nuclear force. If the United States increases its ability to find and neutralize China’s nuclear missiles, then China will need to expand its nuclear force in order to be able to overcome the United States’ new defensive capability. Zhang believes that increased dialogue between the United States and China may help to reduce China’s concerns and prevent an arms race with China.