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Regional Engagement

The Pacific Forum has numerous dialogues and programs dealing with a broad array of regional issues. With the support of the US embassies in Tokyo, Seoul, and Canberra, the Pacific Forum regularly conducts outreach effort to scholars and the public at large in Japan, South Korea, and Australia on various foreign and security policy issues in the Indo-Pacific. The unique format of these events, along with their multi-city itinerary, contribute to the Pacific Forum’s efforts to engage not only leaders and decision-makers, but broader communities as well.

The Pacific Forum also has a steadfast commitment to working with Myanmar to facilitate its integration into the international community. With the support of the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the Pacific Forum runs an annual “US-Myanmar Nonproliferation Dialogue” to help Myanmar burnish its nonproliferation credentials. It also offers resident and nonresident fellowship opportunities to Myanmar nationals, and has been active in seeking to engage key decisionmakers in Myanmar to discuss key regional security questions.


Strategic Stability

The Pacific Forum’s efforts to promote strategic stability in the region rest on two pillars: deterrence and assurance.

The Pacific Forum’s deterrence work is centered on the US-China Strategic Dialogue, a Track-1.5 meeting supported by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency and run in partnership with Chinese foreign-policy think tanks that provides an important backdrop for US efforts to promote a better understanding of intentions to ensure a strategic balance with China is maintained.

Assurance efforts focus on affirming US commitments to its alliance partners, Japan and South Korea. Also supported by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the US-South Korea-Japan Trilateral Strategic Dialogue brings US Northeast Asian alliance partners together to exchange views on regional security and to examine opportunities for trilateral cooperation. This Track-1.5 dialogue explores the three countries’ thinking about changes in relations with North Korea, extended deterrence, and ways to strengthen trilateral security cooperation. It typically includes a two-move tabletop exercise.

More recently, the Pacific Forum has hosted two new processes that bridge its deterrence and reassurance efforts. One is the US-Australia Indo-Pacific Deterrence Dialogue, run in partnership with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia. Co-sponsored by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency, this Track-1.5 US-Australia dialogue explores issues related to deterring grey-zone coercion, strengthening conventional deterrence, the evolving nuclear order, the role of emerging technologies, and advancing deterrence through the US alliance and partner network. The other process is the Russia-US-China Trilateral Dialogue, titled “Regional Strategic Stability and Nuclear Risk Reduction in Northeast Asia” and run in partnership with the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies and the Beijing-based China Arms Control and Disarmament Association. Co-sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, this Track-1.5 dialogue focuses on finding areas of convergence and divergence between the three countries and identifying policy recommendations on all aspects of the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula.


Security Cooperation

The Pacific Forum assesses and promotes security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific on many fronts: the proliferation and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, strategic trade controls, nuclear safety and security, maritime security, counter-terrorism and transnational crime, cyber security, and preventive diplomacy. The cornerstone of many of these efforts is its involvement in the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP). The network of officials, media, military, and academic representatives that comprise the membership of CSCAP provides the Pacific Forum with an opportunity to influence attitudes and debates in the region on a range of foreign policy issues. As one of CSCAP’s founding institutions, the Pacific Forum also manages the US Member Committee (USCSCAP). 

The Pacific Forum conducts an annual USCSCAP meeting in Washington, which provides updates on ASEAN Regional Forum and ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus activities and discusses current Indo-Pacific security issues. Study Groups and supporting expert groups serve as the primary forums for CSCAP’s research efforts that focus on providing policy recommendations intended to promote regional security cooperation. Representatives from CSCAP member committees meet semi-annually for a Steering Committee Meeting to review study group activity and consider recommendations for new study group initiatives. USCSCAP representatives participate in several CSCAP Study Groups and related ASEAN Regional Forum Workshops related to peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy, maritime security, and countering transnational crime and terrorism.  These efforts are supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the US departments of State and Energy.