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Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR2 – US-China Mutual Vulnerability: Perspectives on the Debate

  • Matthew R. Costlow

    Senior Analyst, National Institute for Public Policy

  • Lewis A. Dunn

    Independent Consultant; Former Assistant Director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

  • Rod Lyon

    Senior Fellow, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

  • Masashi Murano

    Japan Chair Fellow, Hudson Institute

  • Brad Roberts

    Director, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

  • David Santoro

    President & CEO, Pacific Forum

  • Seong-ho Sheen

    Professor & Director of the International Security Center, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University

  • Heather Williams

    Director, Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

  • Tong Zhao

    Senior Fellow, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace



The study US-China Mutual Vulnerability: Perspectives on the Debate analyzes the mutual vulnerability question in US-China strategic nuclear relations. It asks whether the United States should acknowledge mutual vulnerability with China and, if so, how and under what conditions it should do so. The goal is not to give a yes-or-no answer but to provide a comprehensive examination of the issue to better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with various options. The study includes chapters by US, Japanese, South Korean, Australian, and Chinese scholars.

Download the full volume here.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Mutual Vulnerability Question in US-China Strategic Nuclear Relations
David Santoro

Chapter 1 | Ambiguous Acknowledgement: Mutual Vulnerability during the Cold War and Options for US-China Relations
Heather Williams

Chapter 2 | Rethinking Mutual Vulnerability in an Era of US-China Strategic Competition
Brad Roberts

Chapter 3 | Questioning the Assumptions of Declaring Mutual Vulnerability with China
Matthew R. Costlow

Chapter 4 | If the United States Acknowledges Mutual Vulnerability with China, How Does it Do It–and Get Something?
Lewis A. Dunn

Chapter 5: US-China Mutual Vulnerability: A Japanese Perspective
Masashi Murano

Chapter 6: US-China Mutual Vulnerability: A South Korean Perspective
Seong-ho Sheen

Chapter 7: Actors, Orders, and Outcomes: Distilling an Australian Perspective on a US-China Acknowledgement of Mutual Vulnerability
Rod Lyon

Chapter 8: Why the United States Should Discuss Mutual Nuclear Vulnerability with China
Tong Zhao

Conclusions: The Future of Mutual Vulnerability in US-China Strategic Nuclear Relations
David Santoro