tv Discussion on Chinas Approach to Nuclear Weapons CSPAN May 6, 2016 6:35am-7:58am EDT
>> i was asked to talk about interactions with the chinese on a government to government issue on strategy and doctrine. i will come to that in a moment. a number of those points li bin started with on nuclear terminology was very interesting in terms of security and safety, that is common for a number of languages working on threat reduction programs where they don't distinguish between nuclear safety and nuclear security, so it is a common
problem around the world we have had to confront and i welcome the attention to the significant differences different approaches to terminology can bring and need to be teased out through discussion and debate, they have taken a lot of criticism, in the past several years focusing on a nuclear glossary and people said this is a time wasting exercise. point to the importance of the threshold matter of gaining an understanding of the similarities and differences and uses of technology, and the deep
and serious discussion, nuclear doctrine and strategy. i want to give a shout out at the beginning to li bin for highlighting this point and also the chinese government, took the lead in the glossary project, driving it forward over the last couple years. it is as i said both the threshold you pass to get to more serious discussions, and we have those discussions and that is very important. the main topic regarding interactions with the chinese on nuclear policies, the 2010 nuclear posture past the government community to pursue high-level bilateral dialogue with china and russia aimed at
fostering more stable resilience and transparent relationships. what does that mean? strategic stability of the term we use a lot but one that is difficult to decline and particularly when talking about the china and asia pacific, those particular environments. during the cold war, the sermon -- the term stability for mutually assured destruction, the motion that the incentive to assure nuclear use by suffering unacceptable retaliatory damage. this characterization of strategic stability is ill-suited and too narrow to capture dynamics between the united states and china today. in today's world strategic stability must account for more than the balance of nuclear weapons and include other capabilities that can affect cyberweapons and strike and
intensive and several of these. strategic stability, the nonmilitary elements on the us/china relationship with cooperation and competition, and economics. it must be taken into account, bringing that to our attention this morning. the discussion on strategic stability must account for the relationship between the us and china different from what the relationship between the ussr and the united states during the cold war, what strategic stability between the us and china means and some ongoing process that involves us and chinese experts in and out of government and government policymaker i can tell you what strategic stability is not about in the context, we do not seek in these discussions to gain
detailed insight into the operational location of china's nuclear forces. we would like to have a conversation about nuclear policy in boston and contribute to predictability and stability by preventing strategic postures that foster empathy and uncertainty. similarly, strategic stability is not a substitute for broad strategic discussions that address the full range of issues where our interests overlap. and the nuclear posture to underpin, bilateral discussions by reducing inadvertent escalation, misperception or calculation. in particular during times of tension or crisis. the common understanding of strategic stability, important because it will help across the full range of strategic issues and provide better understanding
of china's threat perception and play by nuclear weapons in chinese security strategy. i would say we have a more urgent issue to address because of china's long-term and comprehensive military modernization which is nuclear forces. for that reason we are very into intensifying our discussions in this regard, intensify substantive -- dig down deep on some of these topics. a few settings in these discussions, and strategic security dialogue, maritime, cyber and missile defense policy. in addition, the dialogue addresses many of these issues,
proliferation and disarmament matters. on may 12th, very much looking forward to those discussions. i will say a word on the process at the outset talking about the block project. and the nuclear doctrine, looking to do that in two ways. and national academies and science, national academy of science through committee on arms control and the chinese scientist groups, rich discussions of this matter, we would like to expand it to include all members of p5 from the direction of scientist communities, some did not. there was complexity to be worked out but we see a role for
the scientist to scientist discussion, so valuable in the us/china realm over many years, and expand to the whole. we are interested in p5 discussions per se on nuclear doctrine and strategies that get to a more intense level of sophisticated accomplish up to this point, for the coming year of work in 2016. i will wrap up the discussion. >> thank you. that was a fascinating discussion of the us approach. linton brooks. >> full disclosure. i am not a china expert. i am a nuclear policy expert desperately working to gain a minor in us/chinese/strategic relations. i am not going to comment
directly on the accuracy of li bin's characterization but i will point out one thing, it is an important article. an important article, the greatest of respect to rose, it is not clear to the outside to the outside observer that the breadth of discussion in li bin's 10 minute presentation is matched by the depth and quality of the discussion in the official dialogue. a number of us look forward to the time when we can have our 2 governments begin that dialogue.
academic discussions, li bin and i are involved in some of these, some of the things rose mentioned about the national academy of science are a substitute. we ought not to miss place the fact that we need some time to have in-depth discussion so that we can understand each other because china, unlike other members of the p5, has a quite different conceptual basis, to nuclear policy as we have been suggesting. some of you will say why did we spent time talking about terms? terms matter. let me give you a concrete
example. security, safety. the national security administration, it was our goal. willing to share a lot of us knowledge to improve the security of chinese nuclear weapons. a variety of reasons those dialogues didn't happen but we would have been ready as we have been ready and have shared knowledge of security of nuclear weapons. anybody suggested that we share safety information about nuclear weapons, people would have first spoken about the atomic energy act and security clearance, the enormously important distinction doesn't exist in the chinese
language is important. don't undervalue the linguistic aspects. i would push back on one thing li bin said. i think his intellectual discussion of deterrence was interesting and thoughtful and largely irrelevant. it is a fact of the last 70 years. the risk of conflict in nuclear arms states that they don't have conventional attacks and nuclear arms states. and the nuclear capability to deter response is theoretically
interesting, but not practical. the historical evidence is nonproliferation -- willing to attack vietnam and china and britain, china and the united states and korea is not a nuclear armed state. i don't know that this deterrence components distinction is quite as important as it might seem. the second thing where i would push back, then what li bin had time to say, this question of strategic sensibility. in the article, it suggested chinese scholars are coming to use the us traditional definition of strategic stability. that has not been my experience.
quite to the contrary, the narrow definition rose pointed out one of the dangers with strategic stability risks assimilating to overall foreign policy, taking on narrower definition, focusing on prevention of nuclear war, it is unclear that the chinese see the strategic stability thinking in the united states build up between equals is relevant to a discussion of clean air. this is an important thing. the terms for strategic stability has outlived its usefulness of dialogue with china and we ought to have a dialogue for strategic stability, is not worth the effort to work on that term but
alternate views are possible. one of the things stressed in the article and stressed in the presentation is a question of transparency. transparency got hijacked by an erroneous belief that this administration and the previous administration wanted to know what time they are there and can i make sure my gps starting coordinates are correct, that was never for either of the last two administrations, what we wanted to understand is what the article is about, power to the chinese -- how do they think about nuclear weapons? i want to invite your attention to an important thing in the article that suggests that sometimes transparency comes through the press, chinese get
asked questions for the press. we don't -- an authoritative way. our press is somewhat chaotic huge for this purpose on the other hand, the more responsive by government desires, pay a lot of attention to what the chinese government puts out publicly, and look at transparency. and a lot of areas, transparency would actually help us, with all of the reaction. the idea of being inferior in science and technology is a
forces, not clear at least to me. their actual purpose of the program is not, at least to me, a discussion of how you think of that. for transparency as for how we think about the regional world. in talking about the arms race, i want to make a point, the discussions about arms race look at the united states and another country. what they fail to account for is unique extended deterrence role of the united states, that leads many of us to believe second to none is an important policy, and importance between 1500 and 1000
has any meaning in a large-scale war but because it may have meaning to some of our allies in whether or not we are reliable. i would urge my chinese colleagues as i have in other forums, seeking to prevent hegemony is not the same thing as seeking hegemony. the traditional position of the united states for most of the last 30 years has not been to seek superiority or hegemony. it has been to seek some kind of equivalence. we changed the buzzword by administration but the idea is to make sure particularly our allies are not under any illusion that we are an unreliable -- why are we on the
fence? we have jointly locked ourselves into a corner where we will get the worst of both worlds. chinese reaction in the belief we have deployed missiles that threaten chinese horses -- forces without the events that would be particularly useful for that. it does seem to me that some of the ideas that we have suggested for discussion with the russians on missile defense are entirely suitable to china, to have this rich government level dialogue that i am advocating. but nothing i say should suggest that this isn't a very valuable and important article. and that you should look at it,
or how we can find ways to have a discussion, the understanding of concepts is the first level. that is the important strategic discussion to have. some of us have been working on that for a while and some of us will continue to. >> thank you very much. it is pretty clear that you have a minor in us/china strategic study so i recommend you begin looking at it the major because you are pretty close. i would like to ask questions of each of the presenters to get intellectual juices flowing to be brief and open it up and hopefully have a little more for that. given what you argue in the article do you believe us and
chinese news are converging? clearly they understand the arguments you make in the article, do you think the communication gap, and if so why do you think asking purely for personal view, the chinese government and pla, so reluctant to having this dialogue, for six years, i was in every possible, almost every possible high-level meeting, supersmall meetings, meetings we don't admit existed and very difficult to have a serious discussion about nuclear issues. why is that? your personal view? >> it would be great to hear a little bit more how the administration thinks about missile defense in the us/china context because in the headlines
these days especially with the us are okay decision to begin the deployment and, linton brooks, tell us why you think strategic stability is not the right focus for the us/china dialogue assume it ever happens in that format? when i was involved in these discussions we talk about arms race stability as components of strategic stability. is it that those are the wrong concept? is it that us/china relationship isn't up to the point of having those conversations? i want to draw you out a little bit about what aspects of strategic ability you don't think are the right things? and what is the right conversation? you talked about transparency a little bit, the chinese are very reluctant to have a conversation about transparency related to capability so where should we take a transparency conversation given those constraints? why don't we start with li bin. >> i believe very much like to
see dialogue between two countries. to my colleague many times if they want to trend their experts for nuclear dialogue we like to pretend to have them, but we have not seen that yet. i don't think this is because the position of our two countries are so much different. that is not the main problem. we see china and the united states with no consensus. in the united states some people like to see a dialogue. some people tried to stop that.
me and some others to us visa to come to the united states and have dialogue but some other people try to do that. in china. some people like to have dialogue. others say look, they always want to know what we think about. they never tell us what they think about. we should stay away from that. in some countries we need minimal level consistency, that is most important. >> i would like to make a larger comment about the us/china context because it is the kind of discussion i would like to
have and linton brooks was a student commenting that if we were to build a missile defense system to undermine nuclear deterrence, putting a bad system, limited capabilities to deal with regional defense mission against regional threats and stress again the capability is extremely limited but we need to be able to make the case more clearly and i think that does include some convincing measures to convey that different to our chinese colleagues but when i think about the conversation we need to have about missile defenses it is in the context of the proliferation of intermediate range ballistic missiles in eurasia. we have been grappling with this
matter with the russian federation, their violation of intermediate range nuclear forces treaty, total bilateral ban on midrange systems from 500 to 5500 km and we believe the russians have tested a capable range. this is a problem the russians say themselves is across eurasia and has been put about as public rationale for why they go down this road and vladimir putin himself spoke about this when he went to crimea in august 2014, he talked about the general problem of intermediate range missile proliferation being a problem the russians are grappling with. yes, we are grappling with a similar problem, a limited intermediate range missile
threat and we have chosen to respond to that limited threat from iran from north korea by ballistic missile defenses face-off. we are not eager to get into developing offensive capabilities that first of all would not comply with the ban on imf systems we have with the russian federation, you don't want to build and deploy our own imf range missiles as it would violate the imf treaty to which we are committed but also we feel we can tackle this a limited missile defense system. it is the way to think and talk about proliferation of imf range missiles across eurasia that is a discussion well worth having and ones that we should pursue generally with countries in eurasia and not simply in the us/china conflict but it is a
general issue. >> why don't i like strategic stability. i like strategic stability. >> it doesn't like you. i just think the term and definition of the term is so elastic that it makes it hard for us to focus on the kind of discussions that i want to have with china. make no mistake, when they write the history of the 20th century it will be about the struggle against fascism and communism from the american perspective at least. the history of the united states in the 21 students century it would be how well we manage china's rise to global prominence and whether we are able to do that without war.
overall, broadest term stability is a hugely important subject, the nuclear part of it is a relatively small -- and talk about the nuclear thing because i don't wanted to become a big element, the management of relations, and labeling strategic stability like labeling discussions is not usual. it is not useful to say a transparency discussion. a believe that we are going to share information and gain information. let's look at important topics where misunderstanding could be detrimental to both sides, and i
don't care, a handful of people in this room old enough, used to say call it banana. >> wonderful. a few questions, put up your hand and i will start choosing them and you can go from there. the gentleman here in the front. introduce yourself and your affiliation. >> thank you. i would like to ask li bin a question, and building on linton brooks's comment about sea-based insurance i would like to ask that, the warhead deterrence. and the deterrence -- >> i am a blogger with the
diplomats. >> the sea-based nuclear force is simple, two ideas, china -- second, china wanted to have a credible nuclear deterrent and the sea-based nuclear force would add credit to china's nuclear facility. and i don't believe china has deployed, but -- i do not want my country -- the reason china deploys, china would be in a
more dangerous situation, china would face or lose them, my guess is china wants to off stand the technological first. second, i believe china would develop countermeasures and one of those countermeasures is deploying decoys. some call decoys or would have. they would not. a real warhead and many, that does not change.
the challenge would transform? >> over to you. >> having a hard time grasping the question. let me say a few words about how i thought about these issues and the value of these discussions during the cold war with the ussr, and cumulative process for developing understanding on both sides i would say again, and mutual predictability as being a benefit to ability, strategic stability or stability period or stability period, and over time,
there will be a body of concern shared between the thinking in beijing today and the thinking in moscow in the 1960s and 70s and began to pick up pace in terms of these discussions in the 1980s but those were dispelled over time by benefits that accrued particularly in the arena of mutual predictability and over time lead to a waging concern, countries like russia and the united states, and never going to assuage the security concern and became an understanding over time. and the deterrent relationship
between the two sides to a certain extent, the challenge we face from the ussr and the russian federation particularly not only on the nuclear front and the alliance relationship. and the bottom line is being a reassurance, a reassuring aspect, the us and ussr gained a measure of understanding and predictability over time through such discussion and major nuclear disarmament efforts beginning in the 1980s stretching into the 90s into the present day.
>> the other aspect is the relationship between our understanding on the nuclear front, on the conventional stand up. and asia as well with regard to russia. >> rose corrects transparency and predictability leads to stability. no matter how you define stability. how does that play into this distinction to security challenges and threats. and helping the united states to distinguish between what china is doing to make sure it is maintaining technological capability. and what china was doing for other reasons. it is a feature of american
society and the best example was george w. bush administration in which i served, if you don't tell people what their plans are. and nuclear weapons in the bush administration, i was running the nuclear weapons program, we didn't ever encounter the narrative. here is an example. china doesn't understand the technology and has deployed -- that was a system that has no strategic rationale, and areas in which submarines for a living
it would be vulnerable. it would be a marvelous for coercing japan into saying, no, you cannot allow us ships to call in the case of the taiwan contingency. and internally consistent explanation for what china is doing is almost certainly wrong. and how china was looking at these, i am going to believe that, the version of me that is in the government is going to do it and you look out for the possibility of threats and do something about it. the security challenge unexplained becomes my security
threat and the linkage between the two where the distinction is so important and yet another reason why some in depth the dialogue between people with authority, in the interest of both countries. >> when the threat came out -- and think about this. in the 1980s the americans, the chinese, who is the national nuclear threat when you develop missile-defense technology? it would be the same thing.
because at that time china, the united states, were friends. the chinese missile defense program was aimed for technology rather than another strategy. this is a very good example of how we have problems and complications. and china's nuclear submarine is good for coercing japan. my response is if china wanted to use these for nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis the united states china has to go step-by-step.
china cannot jump from 0 to 10,000 miles. >> i spent 54 years in defense including three years in the u.s. navy, a huge us fleet in 1958. i also spent in my 28 years the office of secretary of defense. and defensively engaged in nuclear weapons, and ready to know, anybody in the us government for that. i never heard in all my discussions across the years for
international relations, never talked about the us wanting hegemony or hegemonic rule. i confirm that with a number of people. the neutron bomb, deeply involved in that, the warhead, 1 kt. 1000 ton tng. my real question, this is supposed to be provocative. how much in your work do you rely on articles about us nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy on international relations and i never found that myself in working on nuclear
training, and fortunately -- like linton brooks, always correcting me. i do not rely on journalism. >> edward levine from the center for arms control and nonproliferation. li bin, your article was fascinating, i second everybody's -- i will read it carefully. two ideas particularly impressive are despite the previous question, difference between deterrence and components. ..
usefulness of nuclear weapons and implication, for example, giving tactical commanders control over nuclear weapons? >> thank you. thank you very much for your comment and the question. i believe that my comment but i recently visited pakistan a few years ago. i gave a couple of talks there in islamabad and tried to convince them that tactical nuclear weapons are not useful. i did not know to what extent they would agree with me but what i have seen they like me, so that's good and some
pakistanis want to come to china to work with me. that's very good. and i sent one of myselfians to pakistan to understand their idea about the roles of nuclear weapons. and he has a very interesting fighting, that is today many some americans they believe that tactical nuclear weapons are useful. some pakistani experts believe that tactical nuclear weapons are useful. some japanese believe that nuclear, tactical nuclear weapons are important. you can see that there is some other way but they share the same concept. so this is something we should pay attention to. thank you very much for your
question and you giving me a chance to mention this. >> yeah. he want to push back on a word that you used. we used the term tactical nuclear weapons. that is the empty set. all nuclear weapons use is strategic. that wasn't always true. you can go back in to the '60s and it was meaningful to talk about but strategic by definition alters the overall conflict and any use of nuclear weapons whether success or not will alter the overall conflict in huge ways and so this non-strategic nuclear weapons category that we invented for convenience in arms control is
not aiding in intelligent thought because it leads us to believe that there is some nuclear weapons use that is somehow okay. and that ace not right, for at least one reason nobody has any idea happens after that because we have zero experience in escalation management after nuclear use and lots of experience of escalation that both sides don't want it actually happening. i urge, bin started out with his comments about the importance of terms. here's a term the united states uses all the time, that leads to misunderstanding in other states and if y'all wanted to just band together and abolish it would be a good thing.
>> greg tillman, arms control association. my question, what role to russian nuclear weapons and indian nuclear weapons play in china's thinking about its need for its own force. >> china has, china always -- let me begin with this. my dear american colleague explained that their ideas about strategic, let me explain my definition about what is strategic. strategic means no incentive to use nuclear weapons. no incentive to have nuclear arms race. i think the two definitions, of the original definitions starting from 1960s and today, i believe that we should adhere to
this definition. the difference is about what approach should have been most important. in the cold war the approach was about the nuclear force structures. and people wanted to have good force structures so neither side would have the incentive to launch nuclear weapons first. today i believe that is useful. this is why i do not want to -- [inaudible]. i do not russia was deport missile defense. but, rose and linton emphasized the importance of transparency and measures. i agree they're important to reduce the incentives of arms race and nuclear weapons use but i would like to add one more approach. that is to commit use.
if you commit no use you would have to talk clear force according to the no use commitment. and you would have to send signals to your rivals at that you would not use nuclear weapons first. for your question, china and russia have a bilateral on no first use. and china and india both have universal no first use commitment. so our relations with india, with russia, we try to remove the inference of nuclear weapons. we try, not to exercise the, using of nuclear weapons. i believe that is the nature of
our nuclear relations with india and russia. that is not to suggest that we have good relations with two countries. but even if we have problems we do not want nuclear use would matter in our relations. >> my my name is singh. i'm from tech firm. i want to make a remark on mr. lee's comment on sales in taiwan. u.s. arms sales to taiwan was the act, it was enacted by u.s. congress in 1979 with an aim to help maintain stability, security and in the western pacific. thank you very much. >> okay. i think we've got time for one
more question. so. >> my name is a walt slocum, i used to work in the defense department but not nearly as long as hank and for this audience i field to compel, hank gaffney and not frank gaffney. [laughter]. my question relates to -- >> no relation. >> i think there are not relations. they have no intellectual relationship whatever. i guess my question about no first use is what does it mean? is it an absolute commitment that there is no conceivable circumstance in which a country would use nuclear weapons other than a nuclear attack on itself, bearing in mind that things can get very bad.
by the way i think the idea that pakistan doesn't regard nuclear weapons as a backstop against indian attack not consistent with the history of pakistan and india but the central question is by the no first use policy, do you mean an absolute, irrevocable commitment never to use nuclear weapons except in the context of a nuclear attack? >> who would like to start? >> i'm not a right person to explain the position of my country but my belief is the same as you just said. but i want emphasize another side. we should, we should know that no first use includes two parts.
one part is -- [inaudible]. other part is not who threaten to use nuclear weapons first. that party is very important. if you do not threaten to use nuclear weapons, then you significantly reduce the roles of nuclear weapons. so that is a way we, you know, he promote nuclear disarmament gleekly. -- globally. >> i want to go back to something i said earlier. there is a fundamental difference between china's security situation and the u.s. and that is the existence of an alliance. my chinese colleagues often say, why won't you accept no first use? i'll tell you why. because the minute we say no first use, a number of states