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Given the difficulty of achieving the complete denuclearization of North Korea in the near term, the United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific have strong incentives to continue building their missile defense capabilities. This trend is clearly reflected in the 2019 U.S. Missile Defense Review report and in recent defense developments in countries like Japan and South Korea. Whereas the United States considers missile defense necessary to mitigate the nuclear threat from North Korea, China sees it as a U.S. strategy to disrupt the regional balance of power and undermine its nuclear deterrent capability. These apparently irreconcilable perceptual gaps are not only complicating the development of a shared North Korea denuclearization strategy but more importantly are also leading to increased tensions in the U.S.-China strategic relationship.

Tong Zhao will moderate a discussion with Li Bin on their recent research on various ambiguities in U.S. missile defense developments, China’s threat perception toward the United States, and Chinese defense countermeasures. They will explore what steps can be taken to lessen the security dilemmas created by ongoing missile defense disputes, while Fan Jishe, Duan Zhanyuan, and Zhang Hongyu will discuss the findings and analyze the relevant policy implications.

This event is off the record.

This event will be in Chinese with simultaneous English translation available.

Tong Zhao

Tong Zhao is a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, based at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing.

Li Bin

Li Bin is a senior fellow working jointly in the Nuclear Policy Program and the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Fan Jishe

Fan Jishe is a researcher at the Institute of American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Duan Zhanyuan

Duan Zhanyuan is a member of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

Zhang Hongyu

Zhang Hongyu is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.