About China’s Second Artillery Force (SAF)
The Second Artillery Force is a strategic force under the direct command and control of the CMC, and the core force of China for strategic deterrence. It is mainly responsible for deterring other countries from using nuclear weapons against China, and for conducting nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.
The Second Artillery Force sticks to China’s policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, implements a self-defensive nuclear strategy, strictly follows the orders of the CMC, and takes it as its fundamental mission the protection of China from any nuclear attack. In peacetime the nuclear missile weapons of the Second Artillery Force are not aimed at any country. But if China comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear missile force of the Second Artillery Force will go into a state of alert, and get ready for a nuclear counterattack to deter the enemy from using nuclear weapons against China. If China comes under a nuclear attack, the nuclear missile force of the Second Artillery Force will use nuclear missiles to launch a resolute counterattack against the enemy either independently or together with the nuclear forces of other services. The conventional missile force of the Second Artillery Force is charged mainly with the task of conducting medium- and long-range precision strikes against key strategic and operational targets of the enemy.
China Daily, Jan. 20, 2009
The white paper did not specifically mention the nuclear deal between India and the US. But it said that the US was trying to further consolidate its military alliances and enhancing its military capabilities in the Asia Pacific region.
The country’s nuclear arm, the Second Artillery Force, will use nuclear missiles to “launch a resolute counterattack against the enemy” in case of a nuclear attack, it said. This is the first time that China has publicly discussed the role and strategies of the SAF.
Times of India, Jan. 20, 2009
Of the nuclear powers, only the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of India have declarative, unqualified, unconditional no-first-use policies. In 1982, at a special session of General Assembly of United Nations, the USSR pledged not to use nuclear weapons first, regardless of whether its opponents possessed nuclear weapons or not. This pledge was later abandoned by post-Soviet Russia. The United States has a partial, qualified no-first-use policy, stating that they will not use nuclear weapons against states without nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.
Wikipedia (no citation), viewed Jan. 20, 2009
Related: State and Party CMCs (Central Military Commissions)