U.S.-China Relations in Strategic Domains
About the Project
U.S.-China Relations in Strategic Domains is a 24-month joint project between NBR, the Institute for China-US People-to-People Exchange, and the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, both at Peking University. This project is made possible by the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and seeks to produce a forthright examination of the challenges in establishing greater trust and cooperation in U.S.-China relations in strategic domains and bilateral exchanges. The goal of the research and discussions is to produce pragmatic recommendations for U.S. and Chinese policymakers in order to strengthen the most important bilateral relationship in the Asia-Pacific. In 2016, the project culminated in a series of analysis papers co-authored by American and Chinese experts, under the guidance of eminent scholars from both the United States and China.
As China rises, Beijing and Washington are struggling to establish a robust foundation on which to build their bilateral relationship. While both sides seem to agree on the general need to develop a new type of major power relations, the details of how the concept will be practically applied remain unclear. Although there is already cooperation on issues such as climate change and trade, progress has been difficult to achieve in the world’s strategic domains—maritime, nuclear, space, and cyberspace.
The American and Chinese national security communities have both produced copious amounts of analyses on these four domains. While many of these analyses are insightful and sophisticated, they lack three fundamental characteristics that this project will contribute: a consideration of the strategic domains in total, the joint development of concepts and proposals, and a focus on policy impact. Furthermore, the project will examine how issues related to these domains have been discussed in military-to-military interactions as well as scholarly people-to-people exchanges to produce recommendations for more fruitful bilateral engagement.
2015 Beijing Track 2 Conference
The National Bureau of Asian Research along with the Institute on China-US People–to-People Exchange and the Institute for International and Strategic Studies, at Peking University, jointly convened a Track 2 conference in Beijing from March 28–29, 2015. Leading scholars and experts from the United States and China engaged in frank and forthright discussions on the interests of both countries in four strategic domains—maritime, space, nuclear, and cyberspace—and two modes of bilateral exchanges—people-to-people and military-to-military—in order to examine how to move U.S.-China relations forward in these areas.
The discussion panels were moderated by a senior U.S. or Chinese scholar and featured short presentations of each country’s interests and perspectives by a team of mostly mid-career analysts from the United States and China. Following the presentations, senior experts from both sides offered their assessment and constructive criticisms before an open discussion with all of the participants. The dialogue focused on areas of convergence as the basis for cooperation and areas of divergence to identify steps for managing tensions and crises.