US–China military exchanges constitute an important aspect of bilateral relations between the reigning superpower and a fast-rising one.
This ASPI Strategy takes stock of Sino-US military contacts over the past 15 years and provides some preliminary assessments of the evolution and implications of this critical aspect of perhaps the most important bilateral relationship in the world today.
It seeks to achieve three objectives. First, it identifies, compares and discusses the rationales, expectations and approaches of the two militaries regarding the relationship. Second, it outlines and reviews bilateral Sino-US military contacts from 2001 to 2016, essentially covering both the George W Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Third, it analyses and evaluates US–China military ties over this period and provides some explanations of their promises, progress and pitfalls.