In spite of many challenges, Obama-Xi summit will see modest progress

Written by Bates Gill. The enduring paradox of U.S.-China relations will be on full display this week in Washington in what will be one of the most important—and difficult—meetings between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. Across so many dimensions of the relationship, the two countries have never been closer. Yet the underlying strategic foundation …

Is China playing a long game in the South China Sea?

Written by Mark Beeson. China’s construction of new islands in the South China Sea has attracted a great deal of entirely predictable criticism and controversy. Surely no-one connected with this decision can be surprised at this outcome. One assumes that China’s military planners run just the same sorts of simulations and contingency exercises as their …

US patrol in South China Sea may stop China’s mischief in disputed waters

Written by Muhammad Faiz Aziz. The United States has announced that it is considering sending aircraft and warships to patrol the South China Sea to challenge China’s move in building artificial islands fit for aircraft runways in the disputed waters. The South China Sea, a historical global trade route believed to be rich in oil and …

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 …

Is China playing a long game in the South China Sea?

Written by Mark Beeson. China’s construction of new islands in the South China Sea has attracted a great deal of entirely predictable criticism and controversy. Surely no-one connected with this decision can be surprised at this outcome. One assumes that China’s military planners run just the same sorts of simulations and contingency exercises as their …

Comrades and Rivals: Vietnam-China relations and the legacies of the Vietnam War

By Edward Miller. In recent years, as disputes over power and sovereignty in the South China Sea have escalated, many commentators have invoked history to explain the growing tensions between China and Vietnam. For some, the contemporary crisis is merely the latest episode in an age-old pattern of enmity and distrust between the two countries. …

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 …

The inevitable dilemma of China’s Arctic adventure

Written by Jingchao Peng. The number of seats in the Arctic Council expanded in 2013, when China and five other states (Japan, India, Singapore, South Korea and Italy) were granted permanent observer status to the institution. Yet, it was China’s participation that generated the majority of media and scholarly attention cast on Arctic Council’s latest enlargement. …

PLA Operations against Precision Asymmetric Warfare

Written by Jeffrey Lin. China’s military modernization has been characterized by Western observers as being centered on “anti-access/area denial” (A2/AD), which is intended to deny access to sea and air expeditionary forces in the waters near China. But other Asian countries are building their own asymmetric warfare strategies to counter China’s regional power projection capabilities. …

Xi Jinping’s carrots and sticks approach to the PLA

Written by Michael Reilly. Among all the announcements during and surrounding last week’s meetings in Beijing of the National People’s Congress, referred to colloquially as the liang hui, two in particular had foreign policy analysts reaching for their tea cups to read the leaves. On the eve of the Congress, the Central Military Commission published …