Eleventh China-US Dialogue on Strategic Nuclear Dynamics

Note: Event times are displayed in your local time zone. The dialogue took place from August 17-18, 2017 (Beijing time).

Conference Report

Opening Remarks
Moderator: Li Ning
Chinese side: Qian Lihua
US side: Cecil Haney

Session 1: Assessment of world nuclear situation
Are we entering a second nuclear era; if so, why? What are regional nuclear prospects in South Asia, the Middle East, and Northeast Asia? What is the significance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons? Are there any arms control initiatives of note? How do all or any of these factors impact nuclear deterrence and decisions to build nuclear arsenals?

US moderator: Ralph Cossa
Chinese speaker: Sun Xiangli
US speaker: Linton Brooks

Session 2: Assessment of world strategic stability
How does each country assess strategic stability? Do traditional analyses still work? Or are there new factors that impact strategic stability, such as cross-domain issues, conventional-nuclear relations, new missile defense capabilities, and new advanced munitions and technologies such as lasers? How do we assess the US-Russia strategic nuclear relationship?

Chinese moderator: Qian Lihua
US speaker: Brad Roberts
Chinese speaker: Li Bin

Session 3: American nuclear strategy and policy review
How will the US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) proceed? What are key US concerns in this version? How will it likely differ from previous NPRs? How does the US envision the role of nuclear weapons in the competition among great powers? How will the US define the Sino-US nuclear relationship in the new NPR? How will US nuclear modernization proceed? What role will be played by US extended deterrence? Is US thinking about extended deterrence changing? If so, why?

US moderator: Brad Roberts
US speaker: Elaine Bunn
Chinese speaker: Fan Jishe

Session 4: China military reform and nuclear policy
How is China’s military reform unfolding and what is its likely impact on China’s nuclear policy? How are force modernization plans proceeding and how is nuclear strategy changing, if at all? How does China assess the nuclear environment on its periphery? How is China’s nuclear policy adapting to changing dynamics in the US and in Russia and India?

Chinese moderator: Li Ji
Chinese speaker: Ouyang Wei
US speaker: Chris Twomey

Session 5: North-East Asia nuclear issue (I)
How does each country assess the security situation on the Korean Peninsula generally? How does each assess DPRK nuclear capabilities? What is the significance of the 2017 missile tests and hardware displayed at the April military parade? Is there agreement on the DPRK theory of nuclear war fighting? How does each country assess North Korea’s nuclear safety?

US moderator: Bates Gill
Chinese speaker: Wu Jun
US speaker: Scott Snyder

Session 6: North-East Asia nuclear issue (II)
How does each country anticipate responding to a nuclear crisis involving the DPRK? How can the two countries work together to politically contain or manage a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula? What are their priorities in a crisis? How can the two countries, either alone or together, deal with DPRK WMD capabilities in a crisis? What role does each country envision for other countries -- the ROK, Japan, Russia – in addressing both sets of challenges? Do both countries’ objectives and desired/acceptable outcomes coincide?

Chinese moderator: Li Ning
US speaker: Ralph Cossa
Chinese speaker: Yang Xiyu

Session 7: Sino-American strategic mutual confidence and strategic stability
What are key issues as the two countries attempt to build strategic confidence? What is the relationship between confidence and strategic stability? What can the other country do to help build your confidence? What can each country do to reassure the other? What external factors – i.e., not part of the bilateral relationship – affect China-US mutual confidence? How can we address factors identified in session 2? What are the alternatives to strategic stability as an organizing concept in the relationship?

US moderator: Chris Twomey
Chinese speaker: Lu Yin
US speaker: Lewis Dunn

Session 8: Options and measures for Sino-American CBM and Strategic stability
Can the two countries agree on “rules of the road” for the nuclear, cyber, and outer space domains? Does the ‘no first use’ doctrine have a role to play and if so, how? What can be done to minimize the influence of a strategic competition mindset and keep our strategic relationship on a positive trajectory and stable footing?

Chinese moderator: Yang Mingjie
US speaker: Vince Manzo
Chinese speaker: Zhang Tuosheng

Closing Remarks
Moderator: Ralph Cossa
US side: Cecil Haney
Chinese side: Qian Lihua