Global Commons and the Reconstruction of Sino-US Military Relations

ASIA FORUM with Research Associate Professor Li Yan

Global Commons and the Reconstruction of Sino-US Military Relations

Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 10:00 – 12:00

The global commons-which mainly refer to air, space, sea and cyberspace-have  become increasingly congested and, indeed, contested in recent years. Dependable access to global commons is vital for international economy and political order. These commons should be kept open and effective. However, major powers have been increasingly investing  and locked in contest over global commons. Countries continue to advance and upgrade their armed forces and accelerate the development of new weapon systems for the purpose of competing for dominance in global commons. Non-state actors like pirates and ‘hacktivists’ also pose great threats to the openness of such commons.

The implications of these developments in global commons bring about new variables for the underdeveloped Sino-US mil-to-mil relations. On one hand, the US armed force and the PLA may compete with each other in all commons. In fact there have been signs of confrontation between the two militaries. This development will damage the fragile mutual trust between the two sides and pose new threats to all  Sino-US relations. On the other hand, global commons can also become domains for cooperation and trust. The two militaries have common interests in maintaining peace and reliable access to global commons. Both have to deal with increasing threats from non-states actors. Co-operation in global commons may constitute a new basis of the mil-to-mil relations and a practical way to increase mutual trust.

Mr. Li Yan is a research associate professor of the Institute of American Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), Beijing, China,  and currently a guest researcher at ISDP. His fields of interests include US foreign policy and security issues. He has published dozens of articles on the abovementioned fields.

Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.

To attend: RSVP to Ms. Ebba Mårtensson at