China Policy Institute Blog

China’s military parade is an error of judgement

Written by Steve Tsang. Whenever the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) departs from routine protocol, it is usually highly significant. Today’s military parade in Beijing, which marks 70 years since the defeat of Japan in the Second World War, is no exception. It is only China’s fourth military parade since the Mao era; it is the …

What message is the PRC trying to convey with its military parade?

Written by Michael Reilly. Even before it has taken place, China’s 3 September military parade in central Beijing is generating considerable international media comment and speculation. Officially it marks the 70th anniversary of “victory in the war of Japanese aggression.” A not very subtle and barely disguised subordinate theme warns against the spectre of a …

Abe’s Subtle Apology: Can It Help Japan Become ‘Normal’?

Written by Niv Horesh. Visitors to Japan can feel this is a country undergoing an identity crisis. After more than two decades of economic stagnation, falling birth rates and unstable governments, the Japanese have slowly become accustomed to the notion that the heady 1980s are long gone. Back then, amid a real estate and stock …

Abe’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and Sino-Japanese relations

Written by Karl Gustafsson. On 14 August, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered his long anticipated statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. For months, scholars and pundits have speculated about whether Abe would use words such as “apology”, aggression and regret. Would the statement reflect the revisionist views that he has …

Why Fresh Thinking on the South China Sea is a Problem

Written by Kerry Brown. Almost certainly one of the headaches that a new American president will have to start engaging with when they finally come into office in a year and a half’s time will be the complex claims and counter-claims over sovereignty and maritime borders in the South and East China Sea. Issues that once …

Will China Buy French-built Mistral Ships?

Written by Michal Thim. If you have US$1.7 billion to spare, you could be in with a shot of owning two Mistral-class amphibious attack ships (aka helicopter carriers) that France built for the Russian navy. Buyers will obtain two 21,000-ton multi-purpose warships that can perform a wide range of missions, including amphibious landings, anti-submarine and anti-piracy patrols …

China’s M503: Salami slicing the status quo

Written by Michal Thim. China officially launched the new M503 commercial flight route on March 29 — right in the centre of the Taiwan Strait. Initial reactions in Taipei were of surprise and rejection, which suggests that relevant government agencies in Taiwan were left in the dark before Beijing made the announcement. Taiwan objected on the …

Taiwan’s ‘Apache-gate’ and a call for restraint

Written by J. Michael Cole. The optics could hardly have been worse: Lt. Col. Lao Nai-cheng, a pilot manning the Taiwanese Army’s AH-64E “Guardian” helicopter—one of the most advanced helicopters of its kind in the world—is caught after surreptitiously taking a group of civilians, including a few foreign nationals, on a tour of the base, …

Comprehensive Chinese military buildup

Written by Richard Weitz. The recent Pentagon reports on Chinese military power do not confirm any radical changes or breakthroughs in Chinese military capabilities during the past few years but do suggest a comprehensive Chinese military buildup that should propel China to great power status in a few decades regardless of its leaders’ intentions The …

The troubled transition to an all-volunteer force in Taiwan

Written by Michal Thim. Plans are underway to transform Taiwan’s military from a force relying on a regular intake of conscripts aged 18-35 and serving 11-12 months, into a fully professional all-volunteer force (AVF). Thus far, the road has been rocky. One aspect of the reform is to downsize the current force in 2015 from …