China’s 2nd aircraft carrier Shandong completes testing, training mission, to be combat-ready by year-end

Global Times – China’s first domestically made aircraft carrier, the Shandong, has completed regular testing and training missions at sea that focused on actual combat after serving in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy for 10 months.

PLA Navy’s anti-sub plane a star in Straits

China Daily – An anti-submarine aircraft operated by the PLA Navy has received a lot of publicity recently after a series of patrols along the Taiwan Straits.

China Maritime Report No. 9: Organizing to Fight in the Far Seas, The Chinese Navy in an Era of Military Reform

China Maritime Studies Institute – The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has been laying the organizational groundwork for far seas operations for nearly two decades, developing logistical and command infrastructure to support a “near seas defense and far seas protection” strategy. In the context of such a strategy, the PLAN’s ability to project power into the far seas depends upon its ability to dominate the near seas, effectively constituting a “sword and shield” approach. Along with the rest of the PLA, the PLAN’s peacetime command structure has been brought into line with its wartime command structures, and in terms of near seas defense, those command structures have been streamlined and made joint. By contrast, the command arrangements for far seas operations have not been clearly delineated and no one organ or set of organs has been identified as responsible for them. While this is manageable in the context of China’s current, limited far seas operational presence, any meaningful increase in the size, scope, frequency, and intensity of far seas operations will require further structural reforms at the Central Military Commission and theater command levels in order to lay out clear command responsibilities.

Chinese military beefs up coastal forces as it prepares for possible invasion of Taiwan

South China Morning Post – Beijing is stepping up the militarisation of its southeast coast as it prepares for a possible invasion of Taiwan, military observers and sources have said.

Leveraging NGOs and Volunteerism For Maritime Surveillance Against IUU Fishing

CIMSEC – As strategic competition heats up between the U.S. and China, the U.S. is seemingly at a disadvantage when compared to China’s ability to mobilize and militarize commercial enterprises with plausible deniability like its vast distant-water fishing fleet. In order to adequately counter China’s aggressive overseas fishing fleet, the U.S. should rely on a combination of technology and global volunteerism.

Evolution of the Fleet: A Closer Look at the Chinese Fishing Vessels Off the Galapagos

CIMSEC – Using data and insight from Windward, a predictive maritime intelligence platform, our analysis examines how this fishing phenomenon has evolved over time and who is behind this increasingly intensive fishing effort.

“Preparing for War”: What Is China’s Xi Jinping Trying to Tell Us?

National Interest – James Holmes writes that Xi recently exhorted Chinese marines to devote their “minds and energy” to “preparing for war.” Much of the message was meant for the U.S. and Taiwan.

China’s marine corps on notice to boost combat strength, analyst says

South China Morning Post – China’s marine corps will have more training in joint operations to bolster combat strength as the country’s security risks increase at home and abroad.

China’s Type 055 destroyer has anti-stealth, anti-satellite capabilities

Global Times – China’s domestically developed 10,000 ton-class Type 055 guided missile destroyer can counter stealth aircraft and low-Earth orbit satellites, a state-owned media has recently revealed for the first time, leading Chinese experts to say on Sunday that the capabilities will give Chinese forces a key edge over their opponents in modern warfare.

Chinese navy fleet returns from escort mission

China Daily – A Chinese navy flotilla returned to the port city of Zhoushan in East China’s Zhejiang province Wednesday after completing its mission of escorting civilian vessels in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia.

Chinese Increasing Nuclear Submarine Shipyard Capacity

USNI News – As China pushes to become a blue-water power, nuclear-powered submarines are critically important to Beijing’s plan. Historically the Chinese Navy’s (PLAN) nuclear-powered submarine fleet has been constrained by its limited construction capacity. There is only one shipyard in the country up to the task. But that yard has been undergoing a massive enlargement. And now, recent satellite imagery suggests an additional capacity expansion.

China may pose threat to UK as northern sea route clears, says navy chief

The Guardian – China represents a strategic threat to Britain as its navy could reach the North Atlantic via the Arctic by a route opened up by global heating, the head of the Royal Navy has said.

China launches largest maritime patrol ship amid rising regional tensions

South China Morning Post – China launched a new maritime patrol vessel on Tuesday – the largest and most advanced to join its civilian fleet – as tensions rise between Beijing and its neighbours over the disputed South China Sea.

Aiki in the South China Sea: Fresh Asymmetric Approaches and Sea Lane Vulnerabilities

CIMSECAiki is a fundamental principle in Japanese martial arts philosophy that encapsulates the idea of using minimal exertion and control to negate or redirect an adversary’s strength to achieve advantage. The legitimacy of the CCP’s leadership rests on a core foundation of economic strength and growth, as well as prestige. Due to China’s geography, the principal artery of this economic growth is through the maritime approaches of the SCS. The most direct way to affect CCP behavior is to consider how the free flow of goods and energy at sea through the maritime approaches of the SCS may be altered. And by alternating these maritime flows, further impacts and restructuring of trade-flows and global supply chains may also occur.

Don’t Let China Conclude Its Opportunity Is ‘Now or Never’

USNI Proceedings – James Holmes writes that Chinese President Xi Xinping rules at a perilous, turbulent time. History is replete with strategic leaders who saw a window of opportunity and resolved to act before it slammed shut.

New Intelligence: Chinese Copy Of US Navy’s Sea Hunter USV

Naval News – A candid photograph posted on Chinese social media sheds light on a Chinese project to develop a drone-ship similar to the U.S. Navy’s Sea Hunter. The trimaran is remarkably similar to the Sea Hunter in almost every respect.

Tracking China’s Third Aircraft Carrier

China Power – China is making steady progress in constructing what is believed to be its third aircraft carrier. Commercial satellite imagery collected on August 18, 2020, shows significant developments in the construction of the vessel and additional improvements to the infrastructure at Jiangnan Shipyard.

The Sino-Japanese Maritime Disputes in the East China Sea

CIMSEC – In August 2020 China lifted the annual summer ban on its fleet’s fishing in the East China Sea (ECS). Amid speculation that China may use the opportunity to assert its claim over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, U.S. and Japanese naval forces conducted a joint exercise in the ECS to deter China. While much focus is paid to the Chinese claim of sovereignty over the Senkakus (China calls them Diaoyu), the dispute over the islands is partially nested within a larger dispute over the broader Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ)/Continental Shelf boundary dispute between the two countries. As such, the implications of the islands’ sovereignty over the broader maritime boundary dispute and the respective strategies of China and Japan warrant closer examination.

Will China upgrade its destroyers with ‘carrier killer’ missiles?

South China Morning Post – China’s Type 055 guided-missile destroyers have the potential to be refitted with “aircraft carrier killer” missiles but the weapons would have to be lighter and smaller than existing land-based technology, observers said.

China’s 3rd aircraft carrier ‘progressing smoothly’

Global Times – It has been nearly two years since the Xinhua News Agency revealed that China’s third aircraft carrier was under construction, and recent media reports suggest that work is progressing smoothly and the launch of the warship is near.

China’s New Carrier Early-Warning Plane Is More Than A Hawkeye Clone

Forbes – If the PLAN’s carriers sail east into the Pacific or south to the Indian Ocean they may be vulnerable to air attack. This is because they lack airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. But the new KJ-600 plane is about to change that.

China Launches Second Carrier Rocket At Sea

Defense-Aerospace – China has for the second time launched a 58-tonne rocket from a civilian naval vessel, demonstrating a new capability and raising the specter that similar launchers could be covertly fitted to “merchant” ships. 

China’s Aircraft Carriers and Southeast Asia: Testing Coercive Naval Diplomacy?

CIMSEC – Since the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned its second aircraft carrier, the possibility of utilizing these capital ships for coercive diplomacy is becoming more real. In China’s surrounding areas, Southeast Asia would be most suitable for “carrier diplomacy” regarding the proximity, the relatively weak defenses of the regional countries, and the major territorial disputes in the South China Sea. However, Southeast Asian countries, with their military modernizations and geopolitical circumstances, would not be merely hopeless either.

Is China’s Fishing Fleet a Growing Security Threat?

VOA – Experts who spoke to VOA say that Chinese illegal fishing is not only used by Beijing to stake maritime claims, the fleet’s massive overfishing helps drive food insecurity and ecological problems.

Winning Friends and Influencing People: Naval Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics

Chinese Maritime Studies Institute – In recent years, Chinese leaders have called on the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to carry out tasks related to naval diplomacy beyond maritime East Asia, in the “far seas.” Designed to directly support broader strategic and foreign policy objectives, the PLAN participates in a range of overtly political naval diplomatic activities, both ashore and at sea, from senior leader engagements to joint exercises with foreign navies. These activities have involved a catalogue of platforms, from surface combatants to hospital ships, and included Chinese naval personnel of all ranks. To date, these acts of naval diplomacy have been generally peaceful and cooperative in nature, owing primarily to the service’s limited power projection capabilities and China’s focus on more pressing security matters closer to home. However, in the future a more blue-water capable PLAN could serve more overtly coercive functions to defend and advance China’s rapidly growing overseas interests when operating abroad.