US Navy – China Thinks It Can Defeat America in Battle

- War is Boring – The bad news first. The People’s Republic of China now believes it can successfully prevent the United States from intervening in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan or some other military assault by Beijing. Now the good news. China is wrong—and for one major reason. It apparently disregards the decisive power of America’s nuclear-powered submarines.

Chinese Navy – China’s Littoral Ambitions Go Air-Cushioned

- Defense Week – China will retake the Diaoyu Islands along with the Ryukyu island chain from Japan in the East China Sea and seize the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea within the next 30 to 40 years, according to an editorial published in July by the Chinese-language Wen Wei Po newspaper. “Six Wars China is Sure to Fight in the Next 50 Years” suggests China fight a war with Vietnam over the South China Sea, place troops on the Spratly Islands and build ports, and intimidate others who “dare to challenge Chinese domination.”

Chinese Navy – Asia-Pacific Nations Look To Sea Power

- Aviation Week – A decade of boots-on-the-ground warfare in the Middle East does not, in late December, appear to have done much to spread democracy or tolerance across the region or indeed to quell the sources of terrorism. Syria, Libya and Egypt waver between rule by more or less secular strongmen and takeover by Islamic radicals. Overwatch by fighters, helicopters and surface-to-air missiles is now a routine feature of global sporting events as well as G20 meetings. On the other side of the globe, however, tensions are reminding many observers of the machinations that preceded previous industrial-age wars such as World War 1. China’s declaration of an air defense identification zone was remarkable not so much for its direct impact as for the fact that it took observers by surprise.

Chinese Navy – China’s Near-Seas Challenges

- National Interest – The U.S. National Intelligence Council forecasts that China will become the world’s largest economy (measured by purchasing-power parity) in 2022. Jane’s predicts that by 2015 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) funding will double to $238 billion, surpassing that of NATO’s eight largest militaries after the United States combined. The International Institute for Strategic Studies says that China’s defense spending might surpass America’s as early as 2025. Even if these projections prove exaggerated, economic, technical and industrial activity of an amazing scope and intensity is already affording China potent military capabilities. This is especially the case when such capabilities are applied—most likely through peacetime deterrence, or a limited skirmish with a neighbor such as Vietnam—to the “near seas” (the Yellow, East China and South China Seas), currently a major Chinese strategic focus.

Allowing Beijing to use force, or even the threat of force, to alter the regional status quo would have a number of pernicious effects. It would undermine the functioning of the most vibrant portion of the global commons—sea and air mediums that all nations rely on for trade and prosperity, but that none own. It would undermine important international norms and encourage the application of force to more of the world’s many persistent disputes. Finally, it would threaten to destabilize a region haunted by history that has prospered during nearly seven decades of U.S. forces helping to preserve peace. No other nation has the capability and lack of territorial claims necessary to play this still-vital role.

A number of strategists appear to believe that America faces the threat of conflict with China in the future, but that it can be avoided through accommodation or prepared for over a protracted period. In fact, a different scenario is more likely: even as the two Pacific powers are sufficiently interdependent to avoid direct hostilities—and share significant interests on which they may cooperate increasingly—China is already beginning to pose its greatest challenge to U.S. influence and interests in the Asia-Pacific.