pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

2018 US-China Strategic Dialogue


– 04/13/2018


Maui, Hawaii


Maui, Hawaii

Hosted by Naval Postgraduate School, Pacific Forum, and CACDA​

Welcome Remarks
ADM (Ret.) Cecil Haney and Amb. (Ret.) Zhang Yan

Recent Developments in the Global and Regional Strategic Environment and U.S.-China Relationship
In the past six months both countries have issued important official reports (the NSS and NDS for the United States and the 19th Party Congress Work Report for the PRC) that analyze the international security situation.  Experts on both sides have suggested that the U.S.-China relationship has become more competitive, with the U.S. using the phrase “strategic competitor.”  China increasingly emphasizes its rise as a “great power,” within the context of “trends of global multipolarity… [that] are rapidly accelerating.”  How does each side understand this evolution in international politics and security, both globally and in Asia (Indo-Asia-Pacific)?  Have the major traditional and non-traditional threats evolved (great power competition, territorial disputes, other state-based sources of instability, non-nation state actors, etc.)?  What areas are ripe for cooperation in this environment?

Moderator: Christopher Twomey
Presenters: Fan Jishe, Evan Montgomery

Evolving U.S. Nuclear Strategy and Capabilities and the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review
What are the key challenges that the United States sees in the strategic arena and how does it plan to address them?  How much continuity is there across U.S. policy, and specifically in the 2018 NPR?  What are the key changes in the documents and what is driving these changes?  How have China’s ongoing strategic modernization efforts shaped the assessments and recommendations in the NPR? What roles will be served by new weapons systems in Asia, and how has U.S. thinking about “deterring non-nuclear attack” evolved?  What is the trajectory of U.S. missile defense systems both in the U.S. and in Asia?

Moderator: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Qian Lihua
Presenters: Robert Einhorn, Yao Yunzhu

Challenges and Opportunities in North Korea (3 Break-Out Groups) 
Three small group “facilitated discussions of hypothetical scenarios”:

1. Successful Denuclearization (in 5 years)
Co-leads: David Santoro and Li Bin

2. Cold Peace (in 5 years)
Co-leads: Bruce Klingner and Wu Chunsi

3. Major Militarized Crisis (in the very near term)
Co-leads: Jonathan Pollack and Liu Chong

Challenges and Opportunities in North Korea (Plenary Session)
Plenary discussion of breakouts, co-leads above

Moderator: Michael Glosny

Evolving Chinese Nuclear Strategy and Capabilities and Implications of PLA Reforms
What is the significance of Xi Jinping’s call for an acceleration of the Rocket Force’s strategic modernization?  What is driving recent changes in China’s nuclear modernization and deployments, such as greater precision for nuclear weapons, hypersonic systems, accelerated deployment pace, new strategic roles for the PLAN and PLAAF, etc.  How does China view the shifting strategic environment (U.S. modernization, Russian development of new weapons, India’s growing arsenal, proliferation of missile defenses and conventional strike capabilities, etc.) and its impact on the PLA’s strategic force modernization?  How does the PLA view the role of low yield nuclear weapons in their own force?  How do the PLA reforms affect China’s strategic posture (reforms such as the elevation of the PLARF, creation of the SSF, and establishment of joint Theater Commands)?

Moderator: Duan Zhanyuan
Presenters: Xiang Ganghua, Bates Gill

The Impact of New Technologies on the Global Strategic Environment and the U.S.-China Strategic Relationship
How have “new technologies” (and/or “disruptive technologies”) changed how each side thinks about the strategic environment?  What are the most important technologies that might affect traditional “strategic” nuclear issues?  What impact do they have on the way each side views its own nuclear forces?  How does each side make use of or integrate this into their deterrence posture?  What effect do they have on strategic stability?  How do they change thinking about the need for integrated deterrence, symmetrical responses, and cross domain responses?  Are there mutual interests between the United States and China regarding any of these technologies?

Moderator: Xu Weidi
Presenters: Brad Roberts, Jiang Yimin

Wrap-Up: Implications and Ways Forward
ADM (Ret.) Cecil Haney and Amb. (Ret.) Zhang Yan