During the fourth plenary session of the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, Admiral Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission, delivered an impassioned defence of China’s strategic posture. Here, IISS expert Alexander Neill examines the messages, both overt and discreet, contained within Sun’s address. 

During the fourth plenary session of the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, Admiral Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission, delivered an impassioned defence of China’s strategic posture. As Alexander Neill, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security, explains, Sun’s address was aimed primarily at a domestic audience.

Sun took the opportunity to rebuff comments made by United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter that China risked building a ‘Great Wall of Self-Isolation’, and suggested that instead of regional strategic alliances, which had a destabilising effect, Asia-Pacific nations should invest in bilateral partnerships. China had ‘no hegemonic ambition’, he said.  


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IISS Shangri-La Dialogue 2017

The 16th Asia Security Summit took place in Singapore from 2–4 June 2017.


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Regional Security Assessment 2016

Key developments in Asia-Pacific security

This dossier assesses a range of Asia-Pacific regional strategic, geopolitical, economic, military and security topics.