1969 CINCPAC China Assessment

China conducted two nuclear test explosions in 1969, including the first underground test. Other developments were modest and the number of SA-2 surface-to-air missiles only increased slightly from 37 to 39 sites. Chinese passiveness was also evident on the northern border with the Soviet Union. Although the Soviet Union had doubled its conventional forces in […]

1970 CINCPAC China Assessment

China conducted a single nuclear explosion in 1970 and no missile tests were highlighted. Although CINCPAC had predicted an operational nuclear capability in 1967 and 1969, the 1970s assessment was that “China was expected to have a credible nuclear capability in the next few years.” The ballistic missile submarine program remained at a single possible […]

1971 CINCPAC China Assessment

China conducted one nuclear test explosion in 1971, and CINCPAC’s assessment of the Chinese nuclear threat “remained unchanged” during 1971. China was still recovering from the effects of the Cultural Revolution, but CINCPAC concluded that the country was expected to continue to develop a “credible nuclear capability” during the 1972-1975 time period. CINCPAC intelligence concluded […]

1972 CINCPAC China Assessment

Chinese-U.S. relations entered a new phase with the visit by President Nixon to China in February 1972. As a result of the so-called Shanghai Communique, which acknowledged the Chinese claim that Taiwan remained a part of China and envisioned the ultimate withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Taiwan, caused Taiwan to question — and the […]

1973 CINCPAC China Assessment

CINCPAC estimated that China would be “the second strongest potential enemy in PACOM,” but that its conventional threat would be substantially limited to the PACOM area. The “détente” with China continued with attempts to normalize relations following President Nixon’s historic visit the previous year. Yet as Secretary of Defense Elliot Richardson reminded the Congress, “regardless […]

1974 CINCPAC China Assessment

The “limited-range ICBM,” which had been under development in 1973, was operationally deployed in 1974. The missile, which may have been the DF-4/CSS-3, was capable of reaching all of Russia and part of Alaska. China was not expected, however, to have an operational full-scale ICBM until late in the 1970s. According to CINCPAC: “The nucleus […]

1975 CINCPAC China Assessment

President Ford visited China in December and news agencies carried several high-profile reports on how China had slowly built up a sizeable naval force. CINCPAC’s intelligence assessment described how China was moving toward “a more extensive role” for the Navy. This assessment was supported by the launching of China’s first nuclear powered attack submarine. Overall, […]

1976 CINCPAC China Assessment

China’s strategic forces “continued to develop slowly.” The DF-4/CSS-3 surface-to-surface missile had been tested in its ballistic missile role three times: 1970, 1971, and in May 1976. It had also been used to place two small satellites in orbit (1970 and 1971). Two operational silos had been identified, but CINCPAC considered it probable that only […]

1977 CINCPAC China Assessment

All sections relating to CINCPAC’s threat assessment for China were withheld in full from the 1977 Command History. Given the discretionary disclosure demonstrated by the partial release of previous and subsequent China assessments, the complete denial was clearly an error and a new request for the 1977 sections is currently under processing. The new material […]

1978 CINCPAC China Assessment

On December 15, 1978, President Carter announced that U.S. and China had agreed to establish formal diplomatic relations by January 1, 1979. As a result, the U.S. pledged to remove all military forces from Taiwan by April 30, 1979. The Mutual Security Treaty with Taiwan would be terminated by January 1, 1980. The joint U.S.-Chinese […]