pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues and Insights Vol. 14, No. 11 – Strengthening US-China Nonproliferation & Nuclear Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific

Nonproliferation and nuclear security are vital areas for US-China cooperation. This is a key takeaway of the 2012 DOE-sponsored landmark study “Building Toward a Stable and Cooperative Long-term US-China Strategic Relationship” (accessible at https://csis.org/files/publication/issuesinsights_vol13no2.pdf). Specifically, the study calls for more focused dialogue to flesh out each side’s understanding of and approach to these issues in an attempt to identify opportunities and challenges to stronger cooperation, both bilaterally and in Northeast and Southeast Asia.

In response to this recommendation and building upon its longstanding track-1.5 US-China dialogues on nuclear strategic dynamics, the Pacific Forum, with the support of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), in 2014 launched the “US-China Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security Dialogue.” This dialogue is composed of three workshops: the first to assess how each side perceives, assesses, and approaches nonproliferation and nuclear security challenges, and the next two focused on what both sides can do jointly to address these issues in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, respectively. This project aims to chart a way forward for how the United States and China can better work together (as well as with others) to respond to nonproliferation and nuclear security challenges.

The Pacific Forum held the first workshop in Washington, DC, on June 26-27, 2014. The meeting gathered approximately 25 US and Chinese nuclear experts, scholars, and policymakers, all attending in their private capacity. The meeting compared perspectives on nuclear dangers, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review process, nonproliferation noncompliance, crisis management and nuclear-use prevention, nuclear security, as well as opportunities and challenges to enhance US-China cooperation in these domains.