Xi in the US

September 23, 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a week-long trip that spans the United States. His itinerary reflects a mix of economic, security, and diplomatic priorities that are challenging but necessary for the two powers to discuss. President Barack Obama will host Xi for a working dinner with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Thursday. Rumored to be at the top of the agenda are issues like cybersecurity, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and China’s new national security law.

Absent from the agenda are discussions relating to nuclear weapons modernization, nonproliferation, and disarmament. This absence is notable, particularly in light of recent changes in China’s strategic posture, which could pose a challenge to the United States. China’s 70th Anniversary V-Day Parade earlier this month highlighted China’s conventional and nuclear missile capabilities.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MaqfGTHXpE]

China has historically held a small nuclear force comprised almost exclusively of land-based ballistic missiles, held on low-alert status. However, under the administrations of Hu Jintao and now Xi Jinping, China has gradually increased and diversified its missile forces, MIRVed the nuclear warheads on its long-range DF-5 missile, tested anti-satellite and ballistic missile defense systems, as well as a new hypersonic vehicle. Meanwhile, bilateral talks between China and the US have languished, despite shared interests when it comes to preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction to North Korea and Iran.

The following CNS experts are available for comment on Xi in the US:

Jeffrey Lewis
Director, East Asia Nonproliferation Program
Monterey, CA ⋅ 831.647.6616 ⋅ [email protected]@ArmsControlWonk

Melissa Hanham
Senior Research Associate, East Asia Nonproliferation Program
Monterey, CA ⋅ 831.647.6507 ⋅ [email protected]@mhanham

Stephanie Lieggi
Senior Research Associate, East Asia Nonproliferation Program
Monterey, CA ⋅ 831.647.6697 ⋅ [email protected]

Catherine Dill
Research Associate
Monterey, CA ⋅ 831.647.3584 ⋅ [email protected]@atomic_pickles

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