Bigger Than a Balloon: The Chinese C4ISRT Complex as Hyperobject

CIMSEC – Decades of Chinese investment in sensors, networks and data management means that Allied operations in the Western Pacific are now occurring within a dynamic, complex, shifting, and expanding Chinese C4ISRT ecosystem. The national security community should heed Morton’s hyperobjects and how they provide a better framework for understanding the reality-altering nature of the Chinese C4ISRT complex as a hyperobject. The exact extent and scale of the hyperobject is difficult to ascertain, thereby making it hard to say definitively whether one is being tracked by it at any given time, particularly during this uneasy period of great power competition. Through decades of hard work and investment, China created this hyperobject, and by doing so, it has changed the long-range surveillance and targeting game.

Chinese unmanned vessels, Type 052D destroyer make debut at Middle East defense expo

Global Times – Advanced Chinese naval platforms including unmanned combat vessels and a Type 052D guided missile destroyer are on show at an influential defense expo in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the first time, with analysts saying on Wednesday that China’s shipbuilding and associated industries have reached a very high level, and they can confidently display their capabilities and offer trend-leading products for export.

China Maritime Report No. 25: More Chinese Ferry Tales: China’s Use of Civilian Shipping in Military Activities, 2021-2022

Chinese Maritime Studies Institute – This report provides a comprehensive assessment of Chinese civilian shipping support to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), examining civil maritime-military activities from October 2021 through September 2022. As of 2022, the PLA and its reserve civilian merchant fleet are still probably unable to provide significant amphibious landing capabilities or the maritime logistics in austere or challenging environments necessary to support a major cross-strait invasion of Taiwan. However, large volume lift exercises conducted in 2022 suggest that the PLA has made significant progress in the use of civilian vessels for the large-scale lift of PLA troops and equipment into undefended ports, a capability that may be leveraged in a military assault on Taiwan. This report also discusses other civil maritime-military activities not previously observed, including the use of civilian vessels and infrastructure to conceal PLA troop movements, operations from austere ports, use of ocean-going vessels to transport PLA forces along inland waterways, and logistics support for China’s South China Sea outposts.

The Maritime Fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia and Malaysia Respond to China’s Creeping Expansion in the South China Sea

Chinese Maritime Studies Institute – China now is attempting to expand its control to the southernmost extent of its nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea, in waters ever closer to Indonesian and Malaysian shores. This area of the South China Sea, spanning from Indonesia’s Natuna Islands to the South Luconia Shoals, has greater strategic importance than the Spratly or Paracel Island chains farther to the north. Whereas the Spratlys have for centuries been regarded as “dangerous ground” and commercial mariners have avoided them, the vital sea lines of communication (SLOCs) connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans flow through this part of the southern South China Sea. Therefore, these areas are far more vital to international commerce and navigation than the dangerous grounds closer to China’s Spratly Islands outposts.

Using the Enemy to Train the Troops – Beijing’s New Approach to Prepare For War

CIMSEC – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has quietly changed the way it interacts with U.S. military forces in the Western Pacific. Instead of just tracking and monitoring U.S. ships and aircraft, demanding they leave sensitive areas, the PLA has embraced an approach that favors hostile encounters as preparation for future conflict with the United States. In PLA parlance, it is “using the enemy to train the troops.”

Chinese Lessons From the Pacific War: Implications for PLA Warfighting

CBSA – Toshi Yoshihara surveys Chinese histories of the Pacific War to discern lessons that mainland analysts have drawn from the ocean-spanning struggle. He examines the extensive Chinese-language literature on the great battles at Midway, Guadalcanal, and Okinawa and pinpoints the operational insights that Chinese strategists have gleaned from them. The selected campaigns involved warfighting that will feature prominently in a future Sino-American conflict: carrier air warfare, contested amphibious landings, expeditionary logistics, and electronic warfare.

Yoshihara finds that Chinese analysts, including those affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), have scrutinized the Pacific War. Their historical accounts of the war at sea explicitly draw lessons for the future of Chinese warfighting, including warfare in the information age, modern amphibious operations, land-based maritime strike, and expeditionary logistics. Yoshihara uncovers in these analyses tantalizing hints of the PLA’s deeply held beliefs about warfare, and of the PLA’s enduring weaknesses that it is seeking to reverse. By looking at the Pacific War through Chinese eyes, Yoshihara argues, the policy community can better appraise Beijing’s evolving views of potential great power wars in the Indo-Pacific.

Japanese Fighters Intercept China’s High-Flying WZ-7 Drone For First Time

War Zone – Chinese WZ-7 surveillance drones have appeared for two days in a row over the East China Sea, prompting Japanese fighter jets to scramble to intercept them on both occasions. This is the first time that the Japanese authorities have reported intercepts of the WZ-7, one of the most advanced drones in Chinese service, and it could be connected with the recent movements of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and its supporting task force in the same area.

PLA’s first two amphibious assault ships complete full training, form operational capability

Global Times – China’s Type 075 amphibious assault ships Hainan and Guangxi have recently completed full-course training tests including an evaluation on the use of weaponry, enhancing the vessels’ amphibious operational capabilities, which analysts said is of great significance for China to safeguard its national territorial integrity and national sovereignty in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea.

PLA Navy’s another Type 055 large destroyer Anshan achieves operational capability, ‘ready for far sea missions’

Global Times – Another Type 055 large destroyer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the Anshan, has achieved operational capability after having recently passed an acceptance test, marking that the 10,000 ton-class warship is ready for voyages to distant waters, experts said on Saturday.

US hypes China’s JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile deployment ‘with ulterior motives’

Global Times – The US recently claimed that China has fielded new, longer-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) to threaten the US, but Chinese military experts said on Sunday that China’s SLBM development aims to defend itself from nuclear blackmail, and that the US military’s speculation has ulterior motives which would see it gain more funds to enhance its capabilities.

“Reunification” with Taiwan through Force Would Be a Pyrrhic Victory for China

CSIS – When considered more holistically, the implications of an attack on Taiwan would be grim for Beijing, even if Chinese forces “successfully” capture the island. China would probably be diplomatically and economically isolated from key advanced economies, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping would have to tread a narrow path to avoid dire consequences for China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a whole. This analysis helps clarify what could be at stake for the world and reaffirms the importance of deterring Beijing from contemplating such an attack on Taiwan.