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PacNet #28 – China Will Not Change its Nuclear Policy

April 23, 2013

On April 16th the Information Office in the State Council of the People’s Republic of China released the newest edition of its defense white paper. As usual, this document attracted immediate media attention and triggered wide-ranging discussions on the intentions and capabilities of the Chinese armed forces. One speculation has been that China might consider changes to its long-held no first use (NFU) nuclear policy (See James Acton, “Is China Changing Its Position on Nuclear Weapons?”), as the white paper for the first time does not reiterate China’s pledge not to use nuclear weapons first.