China Policy Institute Blog

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 …

China’s neighbours embrace asymmetric warfare

Written by Michal Thim. Asymmetry is the new black, at least among defense analysts dealing with the Asia-Pacific. Asymmetrical warfare is an age-old concept. Recently, however, it has been mostly associated with insurgent groups or guerrillas capitalizing on their familiarity with irregular terrain in hit-and-run operations against regular government forces. As employed by terrorist groups …

Abe’s Cabinet Reshuffle: Implications for Collective Self-Defence Legislation

Written by Corey Wallace. The July 1 cabinet declaration was a critical symbolic change in how the Japanese government conceptualises the spheres of action the Self-Defense Force can (and should) operate in to uphold the security of Japan. Previously the SDF was required to wait until a direct attack on Japan started to take place …

Interpreting Japan’s right to collective self-defense

Written by Kei Koga. The Abe administration’s reinterpretation of the right of collective self-defense on July 1, 2014 has become the center of political attention both domestically and internationally. Although there are many focal points revolving around the re-interpretation, the core of the debate stems from two basic questions: why did the reinterpretation need to …

Japan’s Security (R)evolution

Written by Sebastian Maslow. Since his comeback as prime minister in December 2012, Abe Shinzo has vigorously pushed for a redesign of Japan’s security system. As such he has proposed to ‘take Japan back’ from its constraining post-war regime and to restore a ‘strong Japan’ capable of deploying its military forces overseas in support of …