Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why China Shouldn't Join the INF Treaty

Yesterday Professor Bradley Thayer, University of Iceland talked at the Australian National University in Canberra on "INF Treaty: Why China Should Join". Professor Thayer argued for joining the USA and Russia in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which banned ground-launched missiles with ranges of  500–5,500 km from Europe. He argued this would improve strategic stability for China. However, Professor  Thayer  undermined his argument by claiming Russia violated the Treaty by testing a land based cruse missile.

The geography of East Asia and the technology of 2015, I suggest, is different to that of Europe in the 1980s. The INF addressed a potential land conflict in Europe. China has a long coast and faces a threat from the sea. The INF would ban Chinese land based missiles, while allowing the sea based weapons of its potential adversaries. Also it is not clear if armed UAVs (pilot-less aircraft), on land or sea based, would be banned under the treaty.

Professor Thayer also claimed that China was not transparent as to its military strategy. However, a quick web search finds the full text of "China's Military Strategy" (State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China, Peoples Daily, 26 May 2015). The strategy is as clear as the recent Australian Defence White paper.

No comments:

Post a Comment