Jeffrey LewisZhao Ziyang, 1921-2005

Zhao announced China would no longer
support proliferation during a toast.

Xinhua confirms.

The obituaries will focus on Zhao’s support for domestic political reform in China as Premier (1980-1987) and General Secretary of the CCP (1987-1989).

As premier, Zhao also reformed the national secuirty policymaking apparatus to improve civilian control and made significant policy changes related to arms control.

Zhao’s toast at a White House state dinner in 1984—“We do not engage in nuclear proliferation ourselves, nor do we help other countries develop nuclear weapons”—is widely regarded as a milestone in China’s acceptance of nonproliferation.

A US official called the toast and its accompanying coverage in the People’s Daily “solemn assurances with in fact the force of law.”

During Zhao’s tenure as premier, China probably reduced the number of operationally deployed nuclear weapons and made an initial decision to enter nuclear test ban negotiations.