– US Department of Defense – The latest report on the Chinese military.
– Wall Street Journal – On Friday, the Pentagon released its 15th annual report to Congress on Chinese military and security development, its last under the Obama administration. “Despite China’s opacity…this report documents the kind of military that China is building,” Abraham Denmark, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, explained at the media rollout event. “We hope it contributes to the public’s understanding of the PLA.” Indeed it does. China characteristically dismissed the report, without seeking to disprove any of its assertions. As Mr. Denmark stressed, the Pentagon publication “lets the facts speak for themselves.” He highlighted three key areas of emphasis: military maritime activities, power projection and reforms.
– Breaking Defense – If ground forces are obsolete, why are the Chinese bothering to build all those artificial islands in the South China Sea? The answer to that is key to the US Army’s emerging vision of its future role, a complex combination of old-fashioned close combat, resilient wireless networks, and advanced long-range weapons that extend the Army’s reach well beyond the land. China is “building land… to project power outward from land into the maritime and aerospace domains,” the Army’s chief futurist, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, argued yesterday at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Much like the Japanese in World War II, he said, the Chinese see island bases as a means to dominate the seas and airspace around them, allowing them to sink ships and down aircraft. The Chinese strategy has only become more effective in the modern era with the proliferation of long-range precision-guided missiles.
– Breaking Defense – If China builds an artificial island on the disputed Scarborough Shoal, Sen. Dan Sullivan warned today, it will complete a “strategic triangle” of bases that can dominate the South China Sea.
– Sydney Morning Herald – What is Xi doing? What does China hope to achieve? And where is this dispute heading? An eminent Chinese expert, Dr Shi Yinghong, provides answers.
– USNI News – The United States has not revoked its invitation to China to participate in this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise despite increasingly aggressive behavior towards its neighbors in the South China Sea because the U.S. hopes China may still participate in a “system of cooperative nations,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said April 15 aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74).
– Washington Free Beacon – China’s plan for a new military buildup on a disputed island near the Philippines shows the future deployment of Chinese warships close to where U.S. naval forces will be stationed in the future. Details of the militarization plan for Scarborough Shoal in the Spratly Islands were obtained by U.S. intelligence agencies over the last several months, according to defense officials.
– USNI News – Beijing is defending the deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles to Woody Island in the South China Sea.
– Breaking Defense – The gloves came off during today’s Senate Armed Services committee hearing on China and North Korea with Pacific Command’s Adm. Harry Harris saying that China seeks “hegemony in East Asia” and is unequivocally militarizing the South China Sea.
– USNI News – A possible new Chinese radar installation in the South China Sea could put American and allied stealth aircraft at risk as part of a wider detection network similar to U.S. efforts to find Russian bombers in the Cold War.
– Reuters – James Holmes writes that “In a move that should surprise precisely no one, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has positioned surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) on one of its South China Sea islands — namely Woody Island, home to Sansha, the administrative capital for the islands, atolls, and other geographic features Beijing claims in the Paracels and Spratlys. For Beijing this move makes eminent sense on many levels: it constitutes yet another reply to American and Southeast Asian challenges to its claims of “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the South China Sea.”
– China Daily – Several drills have been carried out by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force during the past two weeks, with one of them involving the simulated use of the cutting-edge DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, according to observers.
– BBC – China has deployed surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island in the South China Sea, Taiwan says.
– USNI News – The People’s Liberation Army is building a South China Sea helicopter base that could be a key node in a Chinese anti-submarine warfare (ASW) network across the region.
– Asia Times – China toned down vitriolic rhetoric in response to the recent passage of a US warship near a disputed island in the South China Sea…But the restraint may come with a cost: China is now showing signs that the two warship visits are likely to speed up plans to militarize the South China Sea islands.
– National Interest – The enduring significance of the Pacific ‘island chains’
– National Interest – Beijing has a long history of sneaking up on rival ships.
– Defense News – The extensive chains of Pacific islands ringing China have been described as a wall, a barrier to be breached by an attacker or strengthened by a defender. They are seen as springboards, potential bases for operations to attack or invade others in the region. In a territorial sense, they are benchmarks marking the extent of a country’s influence.
– National Interest – When Chinese officers go to bed at night, what do they fear most? Despite all the hard work, all the billions of dollars spent, no Chinese sailor wants to tangle with the U.S. Navy. As one retired Chinese senior defense official told me in late 2014: “The 3 A.M. crisis ‘call’ I feared the most is that we were at war with your navy.”
– National Interest – Much has been reported about the recent structural reforms undertaken by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—the end goal being a leaner and meaner military force, capable of undertaking a broad spectrum of missions under modern, high-tech conditions. Part of this drive towards a “new-age” PLA has been efforts to modernize the PLA Marine Corps (PLAMC).
– USNI News – Chinese officials claim to be on “ high alert against Japan’s attempt to poke its nose in the issue of the South China Sea,” following an interview published Sunday in which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the international community to “raise its voice” against Chinese encroachment.
– Foreign Policy – Our intrepid reporters tried to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the East China Sea. They ended up igniting a war in Asia.
– Congressional Research Service – The latest version of this document, published in December 2015.
– Flash//Critic – Chinese maritime security forces disclosed last month that one of its missions is to provide protection for undersea communications cables.
– USNI News – China is in the midst of building its first domestic carrier, Ministry of National Defense officials confirmed last week.