U.S. – China Military and Defense Exchanges and Mechanisms:
(Military-to-Military; Mil-to-Mil, or M2M)
zhong1-mei3 guo2fang2bu4 fang2wu4 cuo1shang1 ji1zhi4
US-China Defense Consultations Mechanisms
This term refers to the bilaterally agreed to institutionalized mechanisms between the two nation’s defense organizations. At a minimum it refers to the Defense Consultative Talks (DCT), and the Defense Policy Coordination Talks (DPCT), but may also include other mechanisms such as the Military maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) and other mechanisms.
zhong1-mei3 guo2fang2bu4 fang2wu4 cuo1shang1
Defense Consultative Talks (DCT)
DCT is the capstone bilateral annual defense dialogue led on the U.S. side by the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD(P)), and on the Chinese side led by a Deputy Chief of General Staff (DCoGS) with the foreign affairs portfolio. Common shortened terms for the DCT include: 中美防务磋商, or 防务磋商.
Some Chinese language media have referred to these talks as the U.S. – China Deputy Minister (Under Secretary) Defense Dialogue 中美国防部副部长级防务磋商.
zhong1-mei3 guo2fang4 ya4-tai4 an1quan2 dui4hua4
U.S.-China Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue (APSD)
A U.S. – China Defense dialogue led on the Chinese side by the Director of the CMC Office of International Military Cooperation (CMC-OIMC), and on the U.S. side by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia-Pacific Security Affairs (ASD/APSA). This new dialogue, fits between the DCT and DPCT, and focuses on regional or global issues of mutual or respective concern. Held for the first time in March of 2015
zhong1-mei3 guo2fang2bu4 zheng4ce4 xie2tiao2 hui4tan2
Defense Policy Coordination Talks (DPCT)
An annual bilateral defense dialogue below the Undersecretary level dialogue (DCT). On the U.S. side it is led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Security (DASD/EAS). On the Chinese side it is led by the Deputy-Director of the CMC Office of International Military Cooperation (CMC-OIMC). The PLA may not give them full ‘mechanism’ status when they refer to them as defense working talks (国防 部工作会晤), but has maintained the dialogue as an annual talk.
zhong1-mei3 guo2fang2bu4 gong1zuo4 hui4wu4
U.S. – China Defense Working-Level Meeting
Annual working level staff meetings to coordinate and prepare annual bi-lateral military-to-military work plan proposals and other initiatives to be brought to the DPCT or DCT for agreement by the two sides. For several years the PLA have been referring to the DPCT with this term (国防部工作会晤), where previously there were two formal talks (DCT and DPCT), plus informal working-level meetings.
zhan4lue4 gui1hua4 bu4men2 dui4hua4
Strategic Planning Departments Dialogue; Joint Staff Strategy Talks (JSST); JSDM
Talks between the U.S. Joint Staff and the PLA General Staff (now Joint Staff) that began as a result of CJCS General Martin Dempsey’s trip to China in 2013. Led by each other’s strategic planning department, the U.S. Joint Staff J-5, and the PLA Strategic Planning Department (SPD). After attempts in 2013 through 2015 to begin and energize the commitment to a JSST, in 2017 this dialogue may have been rebranded, upgraded to a mechanism (机制), and renamed the Joint Staff Dialogue Mechanism (JSDM). Still very little in open sources.
zhong1-mei3 hai3shang4 jun1shi4 an1quan2 cuo1shang1 ji1zhi4
U.S. – China Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) mechanism
A bilateral institutionalized mechanism established in 1998, comprised of an annual meeting plus working groups and special sessions as necessary. The purpose of the MMCA is to discuss issues of mutual concern regarding safety between the forces of the two sides in the maritime domain. According to the founding document, ‘maritime domain’ includes both maritime forces and air forces, however the mechanism, led by the Navies of each side, has struggled to regularly include Air Force representatives and air issues in the maritime domain.
Zhong1-Mei3 guo2fang2bu4 zhi2tong1 dian4hua4
U.S. – China Defense Telephone Link (DTL)
A direct telephone line established in 2008 between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), allowing direct calls between senior leaders of the U.S. DoD or military and the PRC MND or PLA. While media commonly calls it a “military hot-line” (军事热线), as a matter of policy, neither side fully accepts this as a “hot-line.” Calls typically take from one-day to two weeks to set-up.
zhong1-mei3 liang3jun1 ren2dao4zhu3yi4 jiu4yuan2 jian3zai1 yan2tao3 jiao1liu2
US-China Joint Military Disaster Management Exchange (DME)
The Chinese term includes Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR), Rescue, (and) Disaster Mitigation, not fully consistent with the English. The PLA has also tried to rebrand this as an annual U.S. – China military exercise, but the U.S. side does not.
lu4jun1 Jiao1liu2 yu3 He2zuo4 Dui4hua4 Ji1zhi4
Army to Army Dialogue Mechanism (AADM)
A U.S.-China mechanism agreed to at the U.S. Secretary of Defense visit to China in 2014, an inaugural meeting was held in 2016.
zhong1-mei3 tui4yi4 gao1ji4 jiang4ling3 hui4tan2
US-China retired senior generals talks.
An unofficial recurring event, organized and executed by non-governmental organizations and private individuals. Also referred to as the “Sanya Dialogue” [三亚对话] or Sanya Initiative. On the U.S. side, Sanya is associated with Admiral (retired) Bill Owens, and recently the East West Initiative. On the Chinese side, the Sanya group is sponsored and managed by the Chinese Associations for International Friendly Contacts (CAIFC, an organization with known links to the former GSD/2PLA Military Intelligence Dept. and the former GPD).
Non DoD-led Bilateral Dialogues:
that involve security issues or DoD participation
zhong1-mei3 wai4jiao1 an1quan2 dui4hua4
U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue (D&SD or DSD)
Beginning from the 2017 Trump – Xi meeting at Mar-a-Lago Florida, the Trump administration agreed to replace the previous dialogue mechanism structure used throughout the Obama administration with four new U.S. – China Dialogues; the Diplomatic and Security Dialogue (外交安全对话), Comprehensive Economic Dialogue (全面经济对话), Cyber and Law Enforcement Dialogue (执法及网络安全对话), and the Social and People-to-people Exchange Dialogue (社会和人文对话). The D&SD is to be chaired on the U.S. side by the Secretaries of State and Defense, creating for the first time a recurring cabinet-level security dialogue with China. This set of four dialogue mechanisms will be developed over time, and replaces the S&ED and SSD of the previous administration.
zhong1-mei3 zhan4lüe4 yu3 jing1ji4 dui4hua4
U.S. – China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED)
Was the highest level institutionalized bilateral exchange held between the U.S. and China during the Obama administration. Typically hosted by two U.S. cabinet members (Secretary of State and Secretary of Treasury) on the U.S. side and the State Councilor and a Vice Premier on the Chinese side. It has two distinct tracks, a strategic track and an economic track, and was held annually during the Obama administration, alternating between Washington and Beijing hosting. It replaced the U.S. – China Strategic Economic Dialogue (中美战略经济对话) of the Bush administration. The only difference in titles was the “and” in English, and the “与” in Chinese. The S&ED typically had Under Secretary-level participation from Defense, and was often followed by an SSD (See below).
zhong1-mei3 zhan4lue4 jing1ji4 dui4hua4
US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED)
(note: not to be confused with the S&ED). The SED was a twice annual dialogue led by the Department of the Treasury on the U.S. side and a Chinese Vice Premier, held 5 times between 2006 and 2008 during the Bush administration. The SED, a one track dialogue focused on economic issues, was upgraded during the Obama administration to the S&ED (中美战略与经济对话), a two track dialogue adding a strategic track led by the U.S. Secretary of State and Chinese State Councilor.
zhong1-mei3 zhan4lue4 an1quan2 dui4hua4
U.S. – China Strategic Security Dialogue (SSD)
A dialogue established in the 2011 S&ED outcomes as a strategic security dialogue under the auspices of the strategic track of the S&ED. SSD is hosted by the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and a Chinese Vice Foreign Minister when it is not held in Conjunction with the S&ED. Although senior leaders from U.S. and Chinese defense/military institutions attend, has been a State / Foreign Ministry led dialogue.
zhong-mei3 an1quan2 dui4hua4
U.S. – China Security Dialogue (SD)
A bilateral dialogue between the U.S. State Department and Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) held at the deputy foreign minister level. It covers arms control, nonproliferation and international security issues directly related to nonproliferation and arms control. In 2013, Chinese media referred to these talks as the 6th Strategic Security and Multi-lateral Arms Control Consultations (战略安全与多边军控磋商), the US side just called this the U.S. – China Security Dialogue, or SD.
zhong1-mei3 hai3shi4 an1quan2 dui4hua4 ji1zhi4
U.S. – China Maritime Safety Dialogue Mechanism (MSDM)
A bilateral dialogue established between China’s Maritime Safety Agency (中国海事局) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG, 美国海岸警卫队) established in 2012.
General Terms for Military and Government Exchanges:
annual meeting; plenum session.
The annual general meeting of an institutionalized mechanism, like the U.S.-China MMCA.
working group meeting(s).
Regular meetings of small groups as part of another mechanism, such as under the MMCA.
memorandum of understanding; MOU.
jian4li4 xin4ren4 cuo4shang1
confidence building measure; CBM.
The U.S. and China signed two CBMs in 2014, one on notification of major military activities and another on rules of behavior for air and maritime encounters in the maritime domain.
zhong4da4 jun1shi4 xing2dong4 xiang1hu4 tong1bao4 ji1zhi4
Major Military Activities Mutual Notification Mechanism.
hai3-kong1 xiang1yu4 an1quan2 xing2wei2 zhun3ze2 cuo1shang1
Maritime and Air Encounters Rules of Safe Behavior Consultations.
liang3jun1 jun1shi4 yi1xue2 he2zuo4 dai4biao3tuan2
two-militaries military medical cooperation delegation.
jun1shi4 huan2bao3 jiao1liu2
military environmental protection exchange.
gao1zhong1ji2 jun1guan1 yan2xiu1ban1
mid-senior officer study delegation
A PLA term for a topic-oriented military delegation. These groups seek to conduct a series of military and defense site visits focused on a specific topic (civilian personnel management, joint assignments, military doctrine, military media, etc.). The mid-grade and senior officers of the PLA delegation are tasked with assessing how the U.S. manages the given topic in order to make recommendations back to the PLA headquarters on ways to improve China’s military modernization program.
zhong1qing1nian2 jun1guan1 yan2xiu1ban1
junior and mid-level officer orientation delegation
After several years of aperiodic exchanges of junior officers at various levels, DoD and MND agreed in 2015 to institutionalized annual mid-level officer exchanges. The PLA routinely tries to push these up to the senior colonel or major general level, while the U.S. prefers to facilitate engagement at the major to lieutenant colonel level.
liang3guo2 hai3jun1 fan3hai3dao4 lian2he2 yan3lian4
navies of two nations joint counter-piracy drill.
liang3guo2 hai3jun1 lian2he2 sou1jiu4 yan3xi2
navies of two nations joint search and rescue exercise.
search and rescue exercise; SAREX