Normalizing Military Options in the South China Sea

CIMSEC – The series of moves by Beijing in the South China Sea are not only tactical decision points, but part of a broader strategic narrative aimed at regional competitors, periphery countries, and the United States. Beijing is sidestepping concerns over its militarization in the region by simply continuing on its own agenda. By downplaying controversial decisions and promoting “standard” and “scheduled” actions or exercises, Beijing is shaping the narrative to its benefit. Additionally, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership is pursuing multiple avenues to promote mutual interests with its neighbors and shift attention away militarization efforts.

U.S. Options for the People’s Republic of China’s Maritime Militias

CIMSEC – How should the U.S. military counter China’s maritime irregulars at sea?

China’s Aircraft Carrier: ‘Dreadnought’ or ‘Doctrinal Dilemma’?

CIMSEC – What dilemma does China’s new aircraft carrier fleet present to China?

Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2017

US Department of Defense – The DOD’s latest update on Chinese military power.

The Arming of China’s Maritime Frontier

US Naval War College China Maritime Reports – China’s expansion in maritime East Asia has relied heavily on non-naval elements of sea power, above all white-hulled constabulary forces. This reflects a strategic decision. Coast guard vessels operating on the basis of routine administration and backed up by a powerful military can achieve many of China’s objectives without risking an armed clash, sullying China’s reputation, or provoking military intervention from outside powers…but this decision is undergoing a change…

South China Sea Underwater “Environmental” Sensor Net Could Track U.S. Subs

War Zone – Officially, China’s planned system will gather scientific data, but it also has an unspecified “national defense” role.

South China Sea: US warship sails within 12 miles of China-claimed reef

The Guardian – A US navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, US officials have said, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since Donald Trump became president.

Beyond the San Hai: The Challenge of China’s Blue-Water Navy

Center for New American Security – The United States has enjoyed largely uncontested naval supremacy across the blue waters, or open oceans, for decades. The rapid emergence of an increasingly global People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) suggests that this era will soon come to a close. China’s ability to conduct power projection and amphibious operations around the world will become a fundamental fact of politics in the near future, with signi cant consequences for the United States and its allies, all of which need to begin pre- paring for a “risen China” rather than a “rising China,” especially in the realm of maritime security. China’s expanding naval capabilities have implications that are di cult to grasp, and more importantly, consequences that will be impossible to ignore, and it is therefore all the more necessary for U.S. and allied planners to reckon with it now.

Chinese defence adviser says Djibouti naval facility is a much-needed ‘military base’

South China Morning Post – Jin Yinan, a former director of the strategic research institute at the PLA’s National Defence University, calls the East Africa navy installation that Beijing has termed a ‘support facility’ a critical military base necessary to protect China’s overseas interests

What’s the Deal With China’s Surface Skimming Anti-Ship Drone-Missile Hybrid?

The Drive – Could this emerging weapon system become yet another effective threat layer in China’s ever-expanding anti-access/area-denial maritime bubble?

Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress

Congressional Research Service – Ronald O’Rourke’s latest report on the Chinese Maritime Militia.

Hainan’s Maritime Militia: All Hands on Deck for Sovereignty Part 3

CIMSEC – Part I and II of this conclusion to our series on Hainan’s maritime militia discussed the Hainan Provincial Military District (MD) leadership’s approach to constructing maritime militia forces in response to national militia guidelines and how they address challenges during construction efforts. This final installment in our series offers a glimpse into what the Hainan MD’s efforts have yielded in force scale. It also examines the incentivizes motivating the builders of this force, such as political drivers and pressures confronting local officials. The conclusion also outlines issues meriting further observation and analysis, such as the significance of the Sansha Maritime Militia force for China’s third sea force more broadly, and the degree to which Chinese officials frame related efforts as part of a “People’s War.”

Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: Measuring the Waves

The Diplomat – After a six-century hiatus, sea power development may once again find its center of gravity in the Asia-Pacific. While the Trump Administration plans a naval buildup, China is already well into a buildup of its own.

China launches aircraft carrier, boosting military presence

BBC – China has launched a new aircraft carrier in the latest sign of its growing military strength.

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress

Congressional Research Service – The newest edition of Ronald O’Rourke’s report to Congress.

China set to launch second aircraft carrier

Defense News – China’s second aircraft carrier, but its first locally built, has been floated off its dry dock, and its formal launch appears imminent, even as the country continues development work on other aspects of its carrier program.

Hainan’s Maritime Militia: Development Challenges and Opportunities Part 2

CIMSEC – As it works to improve its maritime militia, Hainan Province is engaged in multiple lines of effort.

Hijacked ship’s crew rescued from pirates near Somalia

BBC – Nineteen crew members have been freed by the Chinese Navy from a ship captured by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Chinese patrol ships keep presence around Malaysian reefs

The Guardian – Chinese coastguard vessels maintain a near-constant presence around reefs claimed by Malaysia in the South China Sea, ship-tracking data shared with the Guardian has revealed.

China building navy’s biggest amphibious assault vessel

South China Morning Post – Ships will strengthen navy as Beijing makes more assertive claims to disputed waters in South China Sea and increases sea patrols amid strained ties with Taiwan.

How a Chinese fishing fleet creates facts on the water

Economist – Bad news for giant clams and for the other littoral states in the South China Sea.

China Base Sparks ‘Very Significant Security Concerns’

Breaking Defense – For the first time, an important United States military base, one where a great deal of highly classified communications, intelligence and operations occur, sits within a few miles of a military competitor. Where? Djibouti.

Hainan’s Maritime Militia: China Builds a Standing Vanguard Part 1.

CIMSEC – The first of a three-part conclusion on the maritime militia of Hainan Province.

China’s Navy Gets a New Helmsman (Part 2): Remaining Uncertainties

China Brief – Part 1 of this series discussed Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong’s background, meteoric rise, and recent promotion to PLAN Commander. However, his appointment raises a number of questions about his role in the PLA Navy’s modernization, his promotion’s implication for China’s promotion system, and about his predecessor’s continued presence on the Central Military Commission. Part 2 will explore these important factors in depth and suggest possible conclusions and implications.

China’s Navy Gets a New Helmsman (Part 1): Spotlight on Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong

China Brief – A new leader has just taken the helm of the world’s largest navy. Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong (沈金龙) reportedly replaced Admiral Wu Shengli (吴胜利) as PLAN Commander on January 17, 2017. Authoritative state media reports have offered few details on Shen, making it important to analyze a broad array of Chinese-language sources to distill what his elevation may mean for China as a maritime power.