This paper examines the credibility issue in China's extended deterrent attempts during the Cold War. In its efforts to protect North Korea, North Vietnam and Kampuchea, how did China convey its threats, and why did these initiatives have differing results? First, I argue that signaling is the key explaining credibility of China's extended deterrent threats across space and time. While ambiguous signals ruined China's credibility in deterring challenges on North Korea and Kampuchea, clear-cut signals backed threats in China's attempts to save North Vietnam. Consequently, China's signals in the first two cases were disregarded or misunderstood but were perceived as expected in the last case. Secondly, the paper seeks to appraise the explanatory power of current theoretical approaches with regard to the effectiveness of extended deterrent threats. Balance of interests (BOI) and Balance of Capabilities (BOC) shed lights on sources of deterrence outcomes, but neither of them is sufficient to explain the cases. The paper concludes that China's peaceful rising is more likely if Beijing signals its interests and capabilities more clearly.