The Ninth China-US Dialogue on Strategic Nuclear Dynamics

A CFISS-Pacific Forum Workshop

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Participant List

February 9, 2015:

Session 1: The Strategic Landscape
What are Chinese and US perceptions of the current strategic landscape? What are the primary trends shaping this landscape? What regional challenges offer the greatest opportunity for bilateral cooperation? What developments most concern each country? Within the region? Globally?

In particular, what will be the future of US-Russia arms control and disarmament after the Ukraine conflict? What is each side's assessment of the conflict in Ukraine and the implications for its strategic relations with Russia? What can we predict or know about Russian behavior? What are the consequences for regional and global stability, P-5 cooperation on non-proliferation and arms control, and other nuclear policy issues? What can the US and China do to encourage Russian restraint? How important is it to sustain nuclear cooperation with Russia?

Chinese moderator: Qian Lihua
US presenter: Linton Brooks
Chinese presenter: Sun Xiangli


Session 2: Nuclear Dimensions of the New Type of Major Country Relationship
What is each side's assessment of the "new type of major country relationship" between Beijing and Washington? How should it be defined positively – and not only negatively in terms of avoiding historic confrontation between an established and a rising power? Is the current nuclear relationship between China and the United States consistent with the “new type” vision or not? If so, why? And what does this imply for the future role of Tracks 2 and 1.5? If not, why not? And what steps should be taken to bring the relationship and the vision into alignment? Are there lessons from experience at Tracks 2 and 1.5 that can be useful at Track 1?

US moderator: Ralph Cossa
Chinese presenter: Yao Yunzhu
US presenter: Brad Roberts


Session 3: Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security Cooperation
How can Beijing and Washington cooperate – bilaterally and within the P-5 -- to make the 2015 NPT Review Conference a success? Are there P-5 initiatives that should be considered, e.g., intensified dialogue with NPT non-nuclear weapon states and/or demonstrated actions in response to concerns about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear use? What are the opportunities for nuclear security cooperation between Beijing and Washington? What should they prioritize in the lead-up to the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit and what can they do to ensure that the summit is a success? What mechanisms will be needed after 2016 to sustain the momentum? More generally, how can the United State and China cooperate better on nuclear nonproliferation when they prioritize proliferation differently? Does China view proliferation as mainly “a U.S. problem?” Why is cooperation on nonproliferation so often transactional? [This session will include discussion of the key findings of a US-China Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security Dialogue which took place in Washington in June 2014.]

Chinese moderator: Yao Yunzhu
US presenter: Miles Pomper
Chinese presenter: Chen Kai


Session 4A: Breakout Session: Dealing with Regional Nuclear Challenges: North Korea
This breakout session will focus on North Korea. Each group will compare assessments of the threat(s) posed by North Korea? What is likely to happen if Pyongyang continues to develop/deploy nuclear weapons? What are the similarities and differences in the Chinese and US assessments? What explains those similarities and differences? What is the confidence of each assessment? How can Beijing and Washington cooperate to bring Pyongyang back into compliance with their nonproliferation obligations?

(English is the working language, Venue: Meeting Room 7)
US moderator: Lewis Dunn
Chinese presenter: Yang Xiyu
US presenter: Ralph Cossa

Group members on Chinese side : Qian Lihua, Zhu Xuhui, Zhu Chenghu, Ouyang Wei, Chen Kai, Wu Jun, Yang Mingjie, Huang Weiguo, Zhang Tuosheng

Group members on US side: Dennis Blair, Brandon Babin, Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, Robert Blum, Jennifer Bradley, Robert Gromoll, Erik Quam, Brad Roberts, Phillip Saunders, Shane Smith, Robert Spalding, Michael Swaine, Michael Urena, US Embassy Representative(s), Robert Vince


Session 4B: Breakout Session: Dealing with Regional Nuclear Challenges: Iran
This breakout session will focus on Iran. Each group will compare assessments of the threat(s) posed by Iran? What is likely to happen if Tehran continues to develop/deploy nuclear weapons? What are the similarities and differences in the Chinese and US assessments? What explains those similarities and differences? What is the confidence of each assessment? How can Beijing and Washington cooperate to bring Tehran back into compliance with their nonproliferation obligations?

(Simultaneous interpretation provided, Venue: Grand Ballroom B)
Chinese moderator: Li Bin
US presenter: Philipp Bleek
Chinese presenter: Ma Shengkun

Group members on Chinese side: Hu Side, Zong Jiahu, Zhang Yu, Sun Xiangli, Yao Yunzhu, Fan Jishe, Guo Xiaobing, Zhu Qichao, Hu Yumin

Group members on US side: Linton Brooks, Elbridge Colby, Dirk Deverill, Charles Ferguson, Leo Florick, Brad Glosserman, Stephen Hoffman, Luo Xi, Victor Ott, Miles Pomper, David Santoro, Christopher Twomey, John Warden, Jaime Yassif, Zhao Tong, Aaron Zhu


February 10, 2015


Session 4C: Plenary Reports on Breakout Sessions
Breakout-session leads will report on the key findings of their session.

US moderator: Brad Roberts
US presenter: Ralph Cossa (summarizing the breakout session of North Korea)
Chinese presenter: Li Bin (summarizing the breakout session of Iran)


Session 5: Strategic Stability and Strategic Reassurance
How does each side operationally define strategic stability? Is strategic stability the same in every setting? What can Beijing and Washington do (or avoid) to strengthen strategic stability and improve strategic reassurance, as part of building a new type of major power relationship? For instance, are there opportunities to pursue new cooperative measures to enhance mutual strategic predictability at the Track 1 and 1 ½ levels? What are the opportunities and key stumbling blocks to strengthening strategic stability and reassurance? What role does US extended deterrence play in this equation? As the two perceive different challenges to strategic stability, is the term itself useful in focusing official dialogue? Are there good alternatives?

Chinese moderator: Zhu Chenghu
US presenter: Lewis Dunn
Chinese presenter: Yang Mingjie


Session 6: Crisis Management and Confidence and Security Building Measures
What types of crises should Beijing and Washington be most worried about? What lessons can be drawn from past crises? What mechanisms are required to manage such crises? What steps can each side take to build habits of cooperation, develop confidence, improve coordination, and inhibit or control escalation in the event of crisis? What roles can regional multilateral institutions such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia play in crisis management or in building CSBMs? [Discussions about nuclear crises could include developments and lessons learned from Indian-Pakistani crises.]

US moderator: Linton Brooks
Chinese presenter: Zhang Tuosheng
US presenter: Michael Swaine


Wrap-up Session: Next Steps
What are the meeting's key findings and conclusions? What are the next steps for this dialogue and for the broader China-US strategic relationship?

Chinese moderator: Qian Lihua


Closing Remarks
US side: Dennis Blair
Chinese side: Hu Side