The Tenth China-US Dialogue on Strategic Nuclear Dynamics

A CFISS-Pacific Forum Workshop

Note: Event times are displayed in your local time zone. The dialogue took place from June 13-14, 2016 (Beijing time).

Participant List
Conference Report

June 13, 2016:

Session 1: Military Developments in the Asia-Pacific Region and Their Implications for U.S.-China Bilateral Strategic Stability
What are the recent steps taken by the United States and China toward their military strategies and postures and modernization programs in the Asia-Pacific region? What, in particular, are the implications of Chinese military reform? What are the most important factors that shape these developments? What are their implications for strategic stability? How do the United States and China view each other’s military developments and modernization programs? What developments or programs are of primary concern to each? How would the deployment of the US THAAD system to the ROK affect strategic stability?

Chinese moderator: Qian Lihua
US presenters: Roy Kamphausen, Michael Elleman
Chinese presenter: Yao Yunzhu

Session 2: Nuclear Weapons and Cyber and Space Capabilities
What are the differences, similarities, and interactions between space, cyber, and nuclear capabilities? Have the United States, China, and others attempted to integrate nuclear, space, and cyber capabilities into their deterrent strategy and posture? If so, how? Is strategic conflict limited only to nuclear conflict or can military applications of cyber and space have strategic impact on war? Do nuclear weapons have any role in deterring attacks in cyber and space? Do space and cyber systems have any role in deterring nuclear attacks? Does the US characterization of the “congested, contested, and competitive” character of cyber and space increase the risks of unwanted escalation in conflict? If so, is it necessary and/or possible to work together to reduce them? How? Can we apply nuclear arms control experiences to cross-domain issues? What type of confidence-building measures can address these challenges?

US moderator: Ralph Cossa
Chinese presenter: Li Bin
US presenter: William Carter

Session 3: U.S.-Russia Relations, China-Russia Relations, and their Implications for Proliferation, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament
How do current U.S.-Russia relations affect expectations about future strategic reductions, the implementation of existing nuclear arms control treaties (New START and INF), and U.S.-Russia bilateral cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security? What is the impact of Moscow’s concept of “escalating-to-de-escalate” on strategic stability? What are the implications for Asia of the INF Treaty compliance dispute and an associated weapons build-up by Russia? What is the status and nature of the separate bilateral China-Russia and US-Russia dialogues on these topics?

Chinese moderator: Yao Yunzhu
US presenter: Brad Roberts
Chinese presenter:Sun Xiangli

Session 4A: Breakout Session: Initiatives of Solving North Korea Nuclear Issue
What should be the focus of our efforts on the North Korea nuclear issue: preparing ourselves to respond to a crisis, seeking solutions to solve the problem, or both? What has been the impact of the January 2016 nuclear/missile activity on US-DPRK and China-DPRK relations? To respond to a new crisis (such as another test or a militarized provocation under a nuclear shadow), what preparations should the United States and China make? What actions should our two countries take before a crisis occurs? How should we coordinate actions during a crisis? In seeking solutions to the North Korea problem, what approaches should the two countries consider?

Chinese moderator: Zhang Tuosheng
US presenter: Ralph Cossa
Chinese presenter: Yang Xiyu

Session 4B: Breakout Session: Challenges and Responses in Implementing the Iran Nuclear Agreement
What are the difficulties and challenges associated with implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement? How should the United States and China cooperate to overcome them? What can the two countries do if the agreement collapses? How can the United States and China cooperate to enhance regional security and, in particular, prevent nuclear and WMD proliferation in the Middle East?

US moderator: Christopher Twomey
Chinese presenters: Teng Jianqun, Liu Qiang
US presenter: Philipp Bleek

June 14, 2016

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

US moderator: Christopher Twomey
Chinese presenter: Yang Xiyu
US presenter: Philipp Bleek

Session 5: The Roles of Nuclear and Strategic Capabilities in Military Alliances
What is extended deterrence? What is its purpose? What are the roles of nuclear weapons in extended deterrence and assurance? Does extended deterrence demand that Washington maintains additional numbers of nuclear weapons and forward-deploys them? Does extended deterrence demand a different set/type of nuclear weapons? Does extended deterrence or the assurance of allies demand that Washington maintain a strategic nuclear deterrent that is “second to none”? What other strategic capabilities are involved? How much does the U.S. alliance system in the Asia Pacific drive the U.S. assessment of U.S.-China strategic stability and its decision to conduct additional nuclear reductions? How does China view extended deterrence? How have these views evolved since the end of the Cold War? How do Chinese military actions and policies affect the U.S. alliance system?

Chinese moderator: Zhu Chenghu
US presenter: Brad Roberts
Chinese presenter: Zhang Tuosheng

Session 6: Strategic Reassurance and Strategic Stability: How to Build and Sustain It?
What are the current trends in U.S.-China security relations? How can we sustain bilateral strategic stability? How can we enhance strategic reassurance between the United States and China? What steps, including transparency measures, can each side take to provide reassurance to the other and our neighbors? What steps should each side refrain from taking? What could derail the relationship? What cooperative measures should China and the U.S. take to improve the global nuclear environment? How can we work together in responding to nuclear terrorism? How can we cooperate beyond the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit? What’s next for P5 cooperation on nuclear issues?

What signals do we want to send to the next U.S. administration regarding avenues for China-U.S. cooperation? How will a change in administration in Washington affect U.S.-China strategic stability?

US moderator: Christopher Twomey
Chinese presenter: Cui Liru
US presenters: Lewis Dunn, Drew Thompson

Closing Remarks
US side: Dennis Blair
Chinese side: Qian Lihua