Commentaries by Steven Stashwick
- Feb 14 , 2017In light of this unexpected focus on the role of nuclear weapons and the prospect of continued U.S.-Chinese competition, it’s worth understanding more about the two countries’ nuclear policies and capabilities. Unlike the United States, China does not acknowledge a potential role for tactical nuclear weapons in fighting or winning a limited conflict, and is thought to maintain only a strategic nuclear arsenal exclusively to deter nuclear coercion or threat from another country.
- Given the apparently low intelligence value of the recently seized U.S. UUV, China may have intended the seizure primarily as a provocation or warning. Though the vessels involved held a low-risk of escalation, the legal precedent is more significant: last Thursday’s incident occurred approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, nowhere near sensitive Chinese military facilities, and in waters that China has not claimed any jurisdiction over.