2022 Undergraduate Fellow Spotlight: Zhuangqi (Steven) Zheng

Zhuangqi (Steven) Zheng is a junior at Middlebury College pursuing a major in International Politics and Economics. His academic interests include US-China relations, international organizations, and international security. Born and raised in Nanjing, China, Mr. Zheng began his studies of international relations with a personal motive: to define his political identity and to resolve his sometimes conflicting political views. Therefore, he strives to absorb information from various sources and analyze international relations with rigor. In Fall 2021, Mr. Zheng joined Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs as intern and an an editor of Journal of Global Affairs for Middlebury. In Spring 2022, he studied at Oxford University through the Middlebury CMRS program, where his research paper on Peace of Westphalia and Leviathan was awarded the best  research essay (proxime accessit). Outside of academics, Mr. Zheng enjoys debate and used to work as a debate coach in China. He also enjoys movies, travelling, and city life. 

Final Presentation: China’s Nuclear Buildup: Consideration Beyond Security?

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While the precise size of China’s nuclear arsenal has always been a mystery in the eyes of many people, there is no doubt that China has been actively growing its nuclear stockpile—as the only Nuclear Weapon State (NWS) choosing to do so in the 21st century. Many scholars believe that China’s decision to build up its nuclear weapons is a response to the rising security challenges it has been facing in the recent decade: the nuclearization of DPRK, the American “Pivot to Asia” policy, multiple territorial disputes in East Asia and South China Sea, etc. The argument is certainly true to some extent, yet nuclear decisions are often driven by multiple causal factors. Using Scott Sagan’s three models of states’ nuclear decisions, this presentation will investigate into China’s nuclear policy consideration beyond its security concerns.