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As the US continues its rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, more attention is being paid to the role of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) in the rebalance, and the effects this may have on China’s nuclear deterrence. This paper seeks to address what effects US ballistic missile defence has on China’s nuclear deterrence, and what the repercussions are for regional security in the Asia-Pacific. A policy and doctrinal analysis is used to assess how the US intends to make use of BMD in the Asia-Pacific, and how China is responding to this deployment. The result of this research demonstrates that while current US BMD may not be truly effective at neutralising China’s nuclear deterrent, China nonetheless views this development as a potential threat, and is modernising and increasing the capability of its nuclear forces to compensate. The article argues that this has negative implications for security within the Asia-Pacific, by stimulating a security dilemma already evident within the region.


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