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China Policy Institute: Analysis

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South China Sea

Xi meets Trump: how charisma and personality can ensure peace and prosperity

Written by Kerry Brown.

For all the focus on high strategy and grand geopolitical narratives, at the end of the day summits between global leaders are largely lost or won according to the personal chemistry that exists between the principle players.

Ronald Reagan famously got along with the USSR’s Mikhail Gorbachev, bringing about major non-proliferation deals. Richard Nixon, despite coming from an utterly different cultural and political background, enjoyed a strange bond with the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai in the early 1970s, pushing forward the historic US China rapprochement. So if Donald Trump and Xi Jinping get along, it could mean peace and prosperity for not just the US and China, but the world in general. Continue reading “Xi meets Trump: how charisma and personality can ensure peace and prosperity”

China’s Sea-Based Nuclear Deterrent: Incremental Advances and Perennial Limitations

Written by Renny Babiarz.

According to recent media reports, China may have initiated its first sea-based nuclear deterrence patrols with Jin-Class ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBNs). If true, this operational deployment demonstrably improves the credibility of China’s strategic nuclear deterrent. While some may characterize China’s sea-based nuclear deterrence patrols as a new security threat, China’s emergent submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capability has long been expected. It represents a significant technical advance, but not an alarming one. Facing geographic and technical constraints, the submarines’ activities in the Pacific Ocean will remain limited in the near term. Continue reading “China’s Sea-Based Nuclear Deterrent: Incremental Advances and Perennial Limitations”

China’s anti-ship missiles threaten an arms race in the western Pacific

Written by James Samuel Johnson.

China has a new generation of stealthy, supersonic anti-ship missiles, and the US is clearly worried about them. Former US rear admiral Eric McVadon described them as the “strategic equivalent of China’s acquiring nuclear weapons in 1964”. He wasn’t exaggerating.

The missiles can evade US missile defences and undermine the effectiveness of the carrier strike groups the US operates in the Western Pacific. By deploying them, China could be changing the future military balance in Asia, pulling the centre of power away from Washington and its allies and towards Beijing. If the US can’t sustain its monopoly on the development of precision missile systems, it will struggle to project its current level of power in the western Pacific – and its forward forces and bases in the region will be increasingly vulnerable. Continue reading “China’s anti-ship missiles threaten an arms race in the western Pacific”

China’s History and the South China Sea

Written by Daniel Wei Boon Chua.

The South China Sea disputes are complex because of the number of parties and the issues involved. Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims to parts of the maritime zone. Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone around the Natuna Islands also overlaps with China’s claims. The disputes cover issues such as territorial integrity, sovereignty, resources, freedom of navigation and international law. And because of its geopolitical and economic heft in East Asia, China has been the focus of analysis in the disputes. China’s claim over the South China Sea has deep historical and philosophical roots. Scholars working on international law tend to brush aside the historical claims made by China, but the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) perception of its own history is crucial in understanding how Beijing views the South China Sea disputes and its relations with other countries in the region. Continue reading “China’s History and the South China Sea”

Introduction to Special Issue on the South China Sea

Written by Richard Selwyn.

In 2010, both the United States and China flexed their military muscle by performing naval exercises in the South China Sea. The venue was by no means incidental. The region is home to territorial disputes between numerous countries and contains fishing stocks and natural resources coveted by the growing economies of East and South East Asia. Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and of course China claim territory in the South China Sea. And countries as far apart as India and Japan have economic ties to the region. The number of parties involved in this small stretch of water is alarming, and may continue to grow as a stronger ASEAN presence emerges out of recent developments in the US and the Philippines. Continue reading “Introduction to Special Issue on the South China Sea”

Does China have or need an external military policy?

Written by Peter Lorge.

It has been almost three decades since the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) last launched a significant military operation outside of its own borders. By itself, this prolonged period of stability argues that China’s official claims to be “peacefully rising” are at least somewhat credible. For those committed to the view that any rising power will challenge the status quo hegemon, however, China’s recent extended period of peace is merely a sign that it is not yet in a position to act militarily. Predicting China’s future military actions therefore turns on two interrelated questions: what are China’s grand strategic and strategic raison d’etat requirements, and is China a special case negating or sidestepping previous Western case studies of rising powers? And, how would we know from China’s actions if our answers to these questions were right?  Continue reading “Does China have or need an external military policy?”

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