China now has 'strategic nuclear deterrence'
Two top generals of China's nuclear forces say they have successfully built a "strategic deterrence" by enhancing the capability of intercontinental strikes and creating a versatile missile inventory.world Updated: Feb 04, 2009 10:10 IST
Two top generals of China's nuclear forces say they have successfully built a "strategic deterrence" by enhancing the capability of intercontinental strikes and creating a versatile missile inventory.
The generals said in an article published recently that their nuclear forces had developed into versatile ones, combining both nuclear and conventional missiles.
General Jing Zhiyuan is the commander of the Second Artillery Corps of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and controls the nuclear weapons stockpile. General Peng Xiaofeng is the forces' political commissar and co-authored the article in the latest edition of the Qiushi Journal.
The journal, a mouthpiece of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), publishes articles written by senior party and government officials.
The Second Artillery has transformed itself into the most intelligent contingents among the PLA, with 78.2 per cent of officers holding at least university degrees, the article said. The missile force also has the country's leading missile experts, including several members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and capable commanders, it said.
Deng Xiaoping, main architect of the country's economic and social transformation that began in 1978, pointed out three decades ago that China needed to develop a "capable nuclear shield" to "earn more say and a higher international status in a coming new world order".
In the 1990s, Jing said the central leadership emphasised that China should build nuclear missile forces that were "in proportion with" the country's placement in the world power hierarchy as well as a "sufficiently effective" conventional missile defence.
In the 21st century, the two generals said, the Second Artillery Corps has taken new steps toward the construction of "information technology-dependent strategic missile forces".
They concluded their article with five points to be worked on for the future of the Corps, including further development of the strategic missile forces under the leadership of the CPC, encouragement of new initiatives and technological innovation.
The two generals said: "We will accurately follow the policies and guidelines of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission."
They also noted the Corps would look for new talent and better military preparedness for shaping both conventional and nuclear missile forces that might get the upper hand during possible conflicts in the information age.