Monday June 1, 2020


Thursday December 5, 2013

On December 5, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation hosted a luncheon discussion on U.S.-China military and strategic relations at the Cosmos Club. Guests participated in an active and candid informal discussion between both U.S. and Chinese military experts.

USCPF was joined by a delegation from the China Institute for International and Strategic Studies (CIISS) while they were in Washington, DC. The delegation will be led by Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Zhao Ning, Vice Chairman of CIISS. CIISS provides research and analysis from military officers and scholars on subjects such as the international strategic situation and China’s national security interests.

The American experts included retired military officers, think tank scholars, and academics. The discussion was moderated by Admiral William J. Fallon, former commander of U.S. Pacific Command. The lively discussion included topics included how to move forward with the new type of major country relationship, U.S.-China military cooperation, current events in the East China Sea, the Iran nuclear talks, and recent developments in North Korea.

Participants from both the U.S. and China agreed on the importance of U.S.-China military-to-military relations. The focus Presidents Obama and Xi placed on military relations during their Sunnylands summit was seen as a positive first step, especially since U.S.-China military relations has historically lagged behind other aspects of the bilateral relationship. This positive momentum needs to be continued and expanded moving forward.

The experts expressed the need for the U.S. and China to work to understand the other side’s actions and motivations, adapt to changing situations, and accommodate each other’s needs. A code of conduct, standards of behavior,   and crisis management mechanisms were all cited as necessary next steps in improving military ties.

The timing of the lunch was fortunate in that it allowed for an exchange of opinions and views about China’s recently established air defense identification zone (ADIZ), which has made headline news and also occupied much of Vice President Biden’s trip to China earlier this week.  The informal setting allowed each side to explain their perspectives, questions, and attitudes about this controversial zone.

The participants also exchanged further ideas about how to improve military ties and general bilateral relations. The overall sentiment of the discussion was positive and forward looking. The importance of improving military ties expressed at the luncheon was echoed the same day in a statement by Martin Dempsey, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “So as the dynamics in the region continue to change, we must build stronger military-to-military relationships with the (Chinese military). We must seek avenues and mechanisms to avoid miscalculation.”

This type of informal Track II dialogue is essential to working towards mutual understanding and better U.S.-China relations. The U.S.-China Policy Foundation was honored to host such a productive discussion.