April 1, 2013
China’s Forbearance Has Limits: Chinese Threat and Retaliation Signaling and Its Implications for a Sino-American Military Confrontation
Since its founding in 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has employed military force in defense of China’s security and territorial integrity. In many such instances, Beijing implemented a calculus of threat and retaliation signals intended first to deter an adversary from taking actions contrary to Chinese interests by threatening the use of military force and, if deterrence failed, to explain and justify Beijing’s resort to military force.
Oct. 1, 2012
Japan-China Relations 2005–2010: Managing Between a Rock and a Hard Place An Interpretative Essay
Between China and Japan, the past is ever-present. Notwithstanding shared cultural and historic ties, throughout the past century and going back to the Sino-Japanese war at the end of the 19th century, a bitter legacy of history—the Boxer Rebellion; the Mukden Incident and Japan’s occupation of South Manchuria (1931); the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Japan’s subsequent invasion of China, and the Nanjing Massacre (1937); and the Sino-Japanese War (1937– 1945)—has left an indelible mark on this relationship.
Sept. 1, 2012
Managing Sino-U.S. Air and Naval Interactions: Cold War Lessons and New Avenues of Approach
The United States and China have a complex, multifaceted, and ambiguous relationship where substantial areas of cooperation coexist with ongoing strategic tensions and suspicions. One manifestation involves disputes and incidents when U.S. and Chinese military forces interact within China’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Three high-profile incidents over the last decade have involved aggressive maneuvers by Chinese military and/or paramilitary forces operating in close proximity to deter U.S. surveillance and military survey platforms from conducting their missions. Why do these incidents continue to occur despite mechanisms designed to prevent such dangerous encounters? Could new or different procedures or policies help avoid future incidents?
Jan. 1, 2012
Sino-American Strategic Restraint in an Age of Vulnerability
For all their power, both the United States and China are increasingly
vulnerable. Each faces a range of strategic dangers, from nuclear weapons
to disruption of critical computer networks and space links.1 Because
their relationship is at once interdependent and potentially adversarial,
the United States and China are especially vulnerable to each other: interdependence
exposes each to the other, while the potential for conflict impels each
to improve strategic capabilities against which defenses can be futile. Strategic
vulnerability cannot be eliminated, only mitigated.
Dec. 1, 2011
Buy, Build, or Steal: China’s Quest for Advanced Military Aviation Technologies
Although China continues to lag approximately two decades behind the world’s most sophisticated air forces in terms of its ability to develop and produce fighter aircraft and other complex aerospace systems, it has moved over time from absolute reliance on other countries for military aviation technology to a position where a more diverse array of strategies can be pursued. Steps taken in the late 1990s to reform China’s military aviation sector demonstrated an understanding of the problems inherent in high-technology acquisition, and an effort to move forward. However, a decade later it remains unclear how effective these reforms have been. Where are the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and China’s military aviation industry headed? What obstacles must be overcome for China to join the exclusive ranks of those nations possessing sophisticated air forces and aviation industries capable of producing world-class aircraft?
The Emergence of China in the Middle East
During the 9th century, Arab traders regularly plied lucrative maritime routes
that connected the Persian Gulf to southern China by way of the Indian Ocean. This
commercial activity, which mostly involved jade, silk, and other luxury goods, went on
for centuries and became part of what is now known as the Silk Road. In some ways,
the world is now witnessing a restoration of that ancient trading relationship between
two civilizations—except that oil and consumer goods have replaced jade and silk.
Sept. 1, 2011
The Ongoing Insurgency in Southern Thailand: Trends in Violence, Counterinsurgency Operations, and the Impact of National Politics
Since January 2004, a Malay-Muslim–based insurgency has engulfed the three southernmost provinces in Thailand. More than 4,500 people have been killed and over 9,000 wounded, making it the most lethal conflict in Southeast Asia. Now in its 8th year, the insurgency has settled into a low-level stalemate. Violence is down significantly from its mid-2007 peak, but it has been steadily climbing since 2008. On average, 32 people are being killed and 58 wounded every month. Most casualties are from drive-by shootings, but there are also about 12 improvised explosive device (IED) attacks a month.
Korean Futures: Challenges to U.S. Diplomacy of North Korean Regime Collapse
There is no shortage of plausible scenarios describing North Korean regime collapse or how the United States and North Korea’s neighbors might respond to such a challenge. Yet comparatively little attention has been paid to the strategic considerations that may shape the responses of the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan, China, and Russia to a North Korean crisis. These states are most likely to take action of some kind in the event the North Korean regime collapses. For the ROK (South Korea), North Korean regime collapse presents the opportunity for Korean reunification. For the other states, the outcome in North Korea will affect their influence on the peninsula and their relative weight in Asia. This study identifies the interests and objectives of these principal state actors with respect to the Korean Peninsula. Applying their interests and objectives to a generic scenario of North Korean regime collapse, the study considers possible policies that the principal state actors might use to cope with such a crisis.
Jan. 1, 2011
China’s Out of Area Naval Operations: Case Studies, Trajectories, Obstacles, and Potential Solutions
This study seeks to understand the future direction of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) with regard to out of area deployments and power projection. The assessment is based on the history of past PLAN out of area deployments and an analysis of out of area operations of other military forces. Both short- and long-term lenses are employed to understand the scope and direction of China’s defense planning and strategic decisions.
Getting Beyond Taiwan? Chinese Foreign Policy and PLA Modernization
Since the mid-1990s, China’s military modernization has focused on
deterring Taiwan independence and preparing for a military response if
deterrence fails. Given China’s assumption of U.S. intervention in a Taiwan
conflict, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been developing military
capabilities to deter, delay, and disrupt U.S. military support operations. The 2008
election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, however, has contributed to improved
cross-strait economic and political cooperation and dramatically reduced the
threat of Taiwan independence and war across the Taiwan Strait. Cooperation
has included full restoration of direct shipping, flights, and mail across the strait,
Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly, regularized cross-strait
negotiation mechanisms that have already reached several agreements, and the
recent signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement.