- Beijing May Keep Nuclear Missiles on Ready Alert
As China develops its next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, the military may also implement a new plan to keep the country’s nuclear arsenal on hair-trigger alert, ready to launch at a moment’s notice.
China’s nuclear deterrence strategy in the past has relied on patience, with a calm focus on long-term retaliation rather than immediate reprisal.
Under President Xi Jinping, that policy is about to change. Chinese military leaders are pursuing a new state of readiness which would keep the nation’s nuclear stockpile on ready alert, prepared to launch at the first sign of an incoming attack.
“When conditions are prepared and when necessary, we can, under conditions confirming the enemy has launched nuclear missiles against us, before the enemy nuclear warheads have reached their targets and effectively exploded, before they have caused us actual nuclear damage, quickly launch a nuclear missile retaliatory strike,” military strategists said, according to Defense One.
By keeping its nuclear arsenal on a hair trigger, Beijing expects that it can ensure that the United States would be deterred from launching a first strike. Chinese nukes could be airborne as US missiles make their way across the Pacific, eliminating the possibility that US strikes could eliminate China’s nuclear stockpiles before Beijing had a chance to retaliate.