– National Interest – Great powers have a habit of intervening to shield weak allies from rival great powers and advance their own purposes. Last week it was Russia vowing to shoot down American missiles bound for Syrian chemical-weapon sites. Judging from recent Chinese words and deeds, next week could see the U.S. Navy attempting to repulse a Chinese assault on nearby Taiwan.
– Washington Free Beacon – Admiral urges rapid U.S. buildup of hypersonic and medium-range missiles to counter China threat.
– USNI Blog – Geography matters. Last week saw a rather interesting rash of articles of alarm and concern that, well beyond the South China Sea, that China was building a “military base” in Vanuatu.
– Guardian – Chinese ambassador calls the idea of a base ‘ridiculous’ and stresses humanitarian program.
– War on the Rocks – China has recently transferred administrative control of its coast guard from civilian to military authority. The decision may have far-reaching consequences for the command and operations of the China Coast Guard, and is arguably one of the most important reforms to take place since its creation in 2013.
– Defense News – One of China’s largest shipbuilders has revealed plans to speed up the development of China’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, as part of China’s ambition to transform its navy into a blue-water force by the middle of the next decade.
– National Interest – Numerical superiority allows China’s second and third sea forces to flood the maritime gray zone in ways that its neighbors, as well as the United States, may find very hard to counter.
– National Interest – An antagonist who stumbles into the arena of combat is different from one who strides into the arena.
– Chinese Navy – China accused of building ‘island fortresses’ as Philippine newspaper obtains aerial images.
– War Zone – A functioning railgun fitted to a ship would signify a massive accomplishment for China and it would be a source of major concern at the Pentagon.
– War Zone – The sensors are officially for scientific purposes, but they could just as easily monitor submarine movements and gather other intelligence.
– Defense News – China’s carrier aviation programs continue apace with the focus starting to shift toward the development and introduction of training and specialized aircraft as China’s first domestically built carrier approaches the start of sea trials.
– CIMSEC – USNS Comfort and China’s Peace Ark have carried out commendable humanitarian work throughout many coastal communities in Latin America and the Caribbean as their tours in these regions have helped individuals who would otherwise have trouble accessing medical services. These humanitarian assistance deployments will continue to be necessary in both the short- and long-term. As for the geopolitical value of such deployments, they are a non-dangerous and effective example of “soft power” via which both Beijing and Washington utilize to maintain and improve their image in these regions.
– War on the Rocks – As the PLA continues to push its modernization program towards its first milestone of 2020, it is likely to be much more thorough-going and successful than might have been expected, as a result of high level support and pressure, including the neutering of bureaucratic resistance.
– Mainichi – The Japanese government said Friday it has confirmed that a submarine spotted near Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea the day before was a Chinese naval vessel.
– UPI – China defended the deployment of a naval vessel to the Japan-claimed Senkakus, also known as the Diaoyutai Islands, after Japan issued a warning about the latest move from Beijing’s military.
– National Interest – China is looking to the United States’ early naval experiences for inspiration.
– War on the Rocks – The United States and its allies should take action now to ensure that China does not think that it can gain the upper hand in a conflict through successful missile strikes against U.S. bases in Asia. They must ensure that China is not tempted, as some of the United States’ previous adversaries have been, into making the grave error of trying to knock the United States down, expecting it not to get back up.
– National Interest – So now China is overtly threatening cross-strait war should U.S. Navy vessels tarry at seaports in Taiwan.
– China Mail – The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s hospital ship Peace Ark (Hull 866), currently on its “Harmonious Mission 2017” task, arrived in Dili, capital of Timor-Leste, on Thursday for an 8-day friendly visit and humanitarian medical services.
– Defense News – Tensions over China’s island-building in the South China Sea may have eased in the past year, but Beijing has kept busy. New satellite imagery shows China has built infrastructure covering 72 acres (28 hectares) in the Spratly and Paracel islands during 2017 to equip its larger outposts to be air and naval bases.
– CIMSEC – What is China’s vision that motivates her decision to be transformed into a global sea power? Furthermore, how will this potential be used?
– CIMSEC – The opening of the Chinese military base in Djibouti on August 1st is a landmark event; China finally has its first overseas military outpost. The parallel of similar activities undertaken by the Germans in China at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries is noteworthy for offering lessons on the relationship between force structure, maritime strategy, and overseas basing.
– CIMSEC – Chinese maritime strategy for the Indian Ocean reflects a couple of simple inter-related planks; espousal of a “two ocean” navy and espousal of the Maritime Silk Road. 2017 has witnessed important consolidation of each maritime plank. Each plank can be looked at in turn.
– CIMSEC – Today the PLAN is enjoying an influx of money and new equipment as well as the fruition of development programs started in the 1990s and 2000s. All this has resulted in a professional force which is able to protect Chinese interest abroad, further Chinese foreign policy, and build Chinese prestige worldwide.