Unofficially Official: The U.S. Rebalance to Asia-Pacific and the U.S.-Japan-Taiwan alliance

Written by Misato Matsuoka & Michal Thim. There is a lot of buzz about U.S. rebalancing policy, but at the end of the day it is not a massive policy change from the U.S. perspective and neither is it one from the perspective of U.S. allies and partners, old and emerging ones, in the region. …

Ma Ying-jeou’s aborted military reform

Written by Michal Thim. Last month, the planned transition from a conscript-based system of National Service to a professional all-volunteer army was postponed in the aftermath of the outrage surrounding the death of soldier Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘

Five Misconceptions About the Chinese Military

Written by Dennis J. Blasko. The conventional wisdom about the Chinese military appears simple on the surface but becomes more complex upon closer examination. 1. China Has the World’s Largest Military That depends on what you count. China officially states the People’s Liberation Army has 2.3 million active duty personnel. That number is usually compared to …

Special Issue on the People’s Liberation Army

Special Issue on the PLA and China’s Foreign Relations China’s economic rise has been accompanied by a thorough modernization program for the People’s Liberation Army. Despite assurances of a ‘peaceful rise’, China’s increasing global engagements  combined with the PLA’s rapid advances in areas like precision-guided ballistic missiles, cyberwarfare and emerging ‘blue water navy’ capacity are …

A Separate Taiwan and China’s External Policy

Written by Don Keyser. Since 1949, China and Taiwan have waged the international dimension of their contest on four principal battlegrounds: [1] “hard power” realities, especially their relative military capabilities including those of allies; [2] ideological or normative appeals; [3] competition for diplomatic “partners” or “allies” (i.e., nations conferring diplomatic recognition); and [4] participation in …

The Xi-Obama Summit: Much Ado About Very Little

Written by June Teufel Dreyer For a summit billed as informal—for any summit, for that matter—the Xi-Obama meeting generated an extraordinary amount of media attention.  Speculation abounded over peripheral issues: why was the meeting being held in California rather than in the nation’s capital? Why did First Lady Michelle Obama not plan to attend, even …

The Obama-Xi Shirt-Sleeves Summit in Sunnyland: Seeking a “New Type Of Great Power Relationship”

Written by Don Keyser Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping met June 7-8 for about eight hours of free-ranging, “unscripted” discussions at the Sunnylands retreat in Rancho Mirage, California. Both sides played down expectations that the “shirt-sleeves summit” would yield significant policy “deliverables.” The sole announcement of a concrete outcome is on climate change: an agreement …

Rising India: A Chinese Strategic Perspective

Written by Anil Kumar. The term rising India is a buzzword in IR discourse nowadays. Until recently, the world used to hyphenate India with Pakistan. However, with the steady rise of India’s national power, it has started re-hyphenating with its historical match, China. So as the world has discarded the prism through which it used …

Entangled ties: China, India and the new Pacific Century

Written by Jingdong Yuan. The three-week stand-off between units of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indo Tibetan Border Police was finally defused last Sunday as both sides de-camped from their face-to-face positions in the frozen Himalayan plateau in the disputed areas along the yet to be demarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC). [1] …

Taiwan Adrift: The Limits of Ma’s ‘Three Nos’

By Wen-Ti Sung. President Ma Ying-jeou’s mantra of ‘no unification, no independence, and no use of force’ is coming under increasing strain in an era of benign neglect from Washington, Beijing’s ever stronger economic leverage, and Taiwan’s own strategic confusion. President Ma’s comfortable re-election in 2012 has led to heightened interest about whether he will …