Back in 1996, China had probably less than 15 DF-5s (probably not even DF-5A). Also, the Chinese conventional forces remained in the 1960s level, so any conflict over the Taiwan Straight would have been a clear-cut victory for U.S. forces. Keep in mind that DF-5s need 2 hours of refueling before launching. These 2 hours give USAF's B-1B (China did not have radars capable of detecting these bombers in 1996) enough time to search and destroy the DF-5 silos. In another word, in 1996, China had "limited deterrence" when dealing with the U.S. Keep in mind that while the DF-3s and DF-4s could be launched from mobile launch pads (against Russia), DF-5s are too big. With the mobile DF-31A entering service in 2006, China now has a more survivable 2nd strike "minimum deterrence" in dealing with the U.S. Britain and France cannot be China's model because Chinese SSBNs are too loud, so PLAN SSBNs could only supplement land-based mobile ICBMs. I doubted the type 096s would achieve the same level of quietness the Ohio or Borei classes. Nevertheless SSBNs allow China's minimum deterrence to be more spread out, so more missiles would survive after absorbing an initial enemy strike. However, I did argue earlier that DF-5s are dumb and unnecessary because their silos will be the first ones to get knock out in nuclear exchange, so given China's mountainous geography, DF-31, DF-31As and DF-41s would ideally remain the core of China's nuclear deterrence. They are the most survivable when kept deep underground, so as long as 30-40 DF-31As and DF-41s survive, that would be a credible deterrence. In fact, even 10 American cities (including DC, NYC, Chicago, Boston and LA) getting smoked would be enough to reduce America's status from a superpower to a Third World nation. Think about all the economic impacts and subsequent chaos/lawlessness after at least 10 American cities getting smoked, not to mention 30-40 cities. This is why the U.S. cannot tolerate North Korea or Iran from having a credible nuclear deterrence. Several ICBMs (if launched) capable of dodging the U.S. and Allied ABM systems would mean an end to the post-1945 international society. In this sense, American have far more to lose than anyone in a nuclear war. Ultimately, Mao got it right. We Americans are ABSOLUTELY afraid of nukes, even if it is a minimum, but credible, deterrence.