By Antoine Bondaz, Emmanuelle Maitre and Dan Liu
HCoC Research Paper n°8, September 2021
China is currently the main ballistic missile possessor and spacefaring nation which remains outside the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC). This can be explained by China’s traditional opacity regarding its deployment of strategic missiles, but also its exports of ballistic systems or technologies abroad. This absence is nonetheless problematic for a regime based on voluntary transparency and confidence-building which aims at universality.
While China remains an important supplier of missile technologies, it has over the years officially tried to ensure that these activities were consistent with international regimes and has announced efforts to curb illicit transfers. Moreover, it has been publicly displaying an image of a responsible nuclear power, promoting its policy of no-first use of nuclear weapons and its limited arsenal as proof of its restraint. This positioning would be consistent with a reconsideration of the Chinese position towards the HCoC, a decision that can be encouraged by regular engagement with subscribing states on this topic.
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