China is building a new type of unmanned research ship

South China Morning Post – A Chinese shipbuilder has begun work on an unmanned scientific ship that could be a “game changer” for the country’s marine research. The vessel – said to be the first of its type – will carry drones and be equipped to conduct air, sea surface and underwater monitoring remotely, China Ship News reported on Tuesday.

The Middle Kingdom Returns to the Sea, While America Turns Its Back—How China Came to Dominate the Global Maritime Industry, and the Implications for the World

US Naval War College Review – China soon virtually will control the global seagoing supply chain, with staggering consequences for the United States, its allies, and the world. As a nation dependent on maritime transportation for its economy and the movement of its military forces, the United States must take immediate, decisive steps to promote the reestablishment of a healthy and competitive U.S. maritime industry.

Hostile Harbors: Taiwan’s Ports and PLA Invasion Plans

Project 2049 Institute – The scale of an all-out Taiwan (Republic of China, ROC) invasion by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) military—the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—defies human comprehension and would likely eclipse any historical comparison. In this important contribution to the field, Senior Director Ian Easton analyzes Chinese military studies frameworks and internal PLA documents to answer pressing questions that will help Taiwan and the United States both understand and better plan for potential crisis scenarios. He highlights the centrality of ROC port facilities—and Taiwan’s ability to defend them—in the PLA’s potential invasion plans for Taiwan, illustrating likely operational strategies explored by PLA leadership. In addition to postulating ports likely targeted in a PLA invasion, he provides recommendations that the Taiwanese government could undertake to ensure its port infrastructure security, as well as recommendations for the United States on how to be a supportive partner to Taiwan in that effort.

Ramping the Strait: Quick and Dirty Solutions to Boost Amphibious Lift

Jamestown Foundation – The apparent shortage of amphibious lift required to execute large-scale landing operations leaves many wondering whether China is serious about its threats against Taiwan. But the PLA may have other plans for transporting troops and equipment across the Strait: the growing capabilities of its merchant roll on-roll off (RO-RO) ships.

China Maritime Report No. 14: Chinese Views of the Military Balance in the Western Pacific

China Maritime Studies Institute – This report examines Chinese views about the military balance of power between China and the United States in the Western Pacific. It argues that while there is no single “Chinese” view on this topic, Chinese analysts tend to agree that 1) the gap between the two militaries has narrowed significantly in recent years, 2) the Chinese military still lags in important ways, and 3) Chinese military inferiority vis-à-vis the U.S. increases the further away it operates from the Mainland. In terms of specific areas of relative strength, the Chinese military has shown the greatest improvements in military hardware, but has farther to go in the area of jointness, training, and other military “software.” Nevertheless, despite continued criticism from senior civilian leaders, training quality has likely improved due to a greater focus on realism, and recent military reforms have, to a degree, improved the prospects for jointness.

Close-Up Photo Shows China’s New Aircraft Carrier Rapidly Taking Shape

War Zone – Work is well underway on the next aircraft carrier due to join China’s fast-expanding navy. A leaked photo now brings us our closest view yet of the vessel, which is set to provide the People’s Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN, with a significant leap in capabilities, including catapults for launching aircraft, a major advantage over the service’s previous two, smaller aircraft carriers with their “ski jump” takeoff ramps.