PLA naval activities around Japan intensify amid Tokyo provocation, ‘to become routine’

Global Times – Over the past month, the Japanese Defense Ministry has posted more than a dozen reports on Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) naval activities around the island country, as the last ship in the PLA Navy task force led by the Type 055 large destroyer Lhasa reportedly returned to the East China Sea on Tuesday, wrapping up its voyage that went round Japan almost entirely. The growing capabilities of the PLA Navy will mean that such activities become routine, and their significance goes beyond just sending Japan warnings amid its right-wing provocations, as the PLA Navy aims to become a blue-water navy that will operate farther in distant waters to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, experts said on Wednesday.

PLA Navy transport aircraft hold simulated landing on carrier, ‘indicate 3rd carrier to be equipped with cargo planes’

Global Times – The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently held simulation training for transport aircraft to land on aircraft carriers, with military analysts saying on Wednesday that the move indicated that China is now developing fixed-wing transport aircraft and special mission aircraft including early warning aircraft for its third aircraft carrier, thanks to the latter’s electromagnetic catapults.

China Launches Third Aircraft Carrier as U.S. Wraps Major Pacific Exercise

USNI News – On Friday morning, China launched its third aircraft carrier, named Fujian. The 80,000-ton carrier is China’s first flat deck carrier and uses Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)-powered catapults to launch its aircraft, in contrast to the ski jump of its other two carriers. The EMALS system can launch heavier aircraft, such as the J-35 fighter and airborne early warning aircraft, to operate off its flight deck.

A naval base in Cambodia supports China’s calibrated aggression

The Hill – China this week vehemently denied a Washington Post report that it is covertly constructing a naval base in Cambodia. How to evaluate assurances of beneficent intent issuing forth from Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpieces? Three bits of advice: Look at your map. Study past CCP practice. And remember that all such efforts to placate Asian and world opinion are perishable. They’re expedients, nothing more. A pledge’s shelf-life expires once Beijing decides it has outlived its usefulness.

China’s stealth drone ship wraps up 1st autonomous sea trial

Global Times – China’s first domestically developed 200 ton-class unmanned surface vessel, characterized by its capabilities in stealth and far sea operation, has wrapped up its first autonomous sea trial, with analysts saying that drone ships like this can provide new tactics for naval warfare including distributed operations and swarm combat.

China slams Japan for close-range tracking of aircraft carrier, says it doesn’t want ‘dedicated photographers’

Global Times – China on Thursday slammed Japan for making dangerous close-range tracking and disruptions to an aircraft carrier of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy during the latter’s recent, legitimate drills in the West Pacific, with analysts saying that the Japanese move reflected the country’s ulterior motive of offensive military expansion under the excuse of the “China threat” theory.

PLA bombers hold drills in West Pacific ‘in coordination with carrier group’

Global Times – The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy reportedly sent its most powerful bombers on Wednesday for drills in the West Pacific, joining the Liaoning aircraft carrier group, which has been holding exercises there since the start of the month, a move experts said could be a rehearsal for keeping foreign forces from interfering in the Taiwan question.

Amateur Hour Part I: The Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

War on the Rocks – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off a flurry of handwringing over Taiwan. Russia, in this interpretation, “broke the ice” by attacking Ukraine, emboldening China versus Taiwan. But any such action by China would likely run into a similar buzzsaw of resistance, while lacking Russian advantages such as access to overland transit. Ukraine is not Taiwan, and regardless of what Chinese leadership thinks they are learning about the benefits of naked aggression, the People’s Liberation Army lacks the necessary power projection and sustainment capability and capacity to execute an opposed occupation of a densely urbanized island packed with citizens who have no interest in living under Communist rule.

China Maritime Report No. 21: Civilian Shipping and Maritime Militia: The Logistics Backbone of a Taiwan Invasion

Chinese Maritime Studies Institute – Most analysts looking at the Chinese military threat to Taiwan conclude that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is incapable of invading the island because it lacks the landing ships to transport adequate quantities of troops and equipment across the Taiwan Strait. This report challenges that conventional wisdom, arguing that the PLA intends to meet these requirements by requisitioning civilian vessels operated by members of China’s maritime militia (海上民兵). Since the early 2000s, the Chinese government and military have taken steps to strengthen the national defense mobilization system to ensure the military has ample quantities of trained militia forces to support a cross-strait invasion. Despite ongoing challenges—including poor data management, inconsistent training quality, and gaps in the regulatory system—and uncertainties associated with foreign-flagged Chinese ships, this concept of operations could prove good enough to enable a large-scale amphibious assault.

How To Deter China From Making War

1945 – It’s important to note that strategic deterrence vis-à-vis China involves far more than doomsday weapons. The Chinese Communist Party has resolved to make geostrategic gains with the least amount of physical force possible. Preferably party chieftains want to intimidate Asian neighbors without warfare; they want not to fight, and pursue their aims accordingly. Therefore, deterring China in the “gray zone” and the conventional arena is strategic deterrence.

China Maritime Report No. 20: The PLA Army Amphibious Force

China Maritime Studies Institute – The PLA Army’s (PLAA) amphibious units would serve as the core of any joint force charged with invading Taiwan. As a result of the 2017 reforms, the PLAA now possesses six amphibious combined arms brigades distributed across three group armies (the 72nd, 73rd, and 74th). During a cross-strait invasion, these brigades would likely receive support from other elements of the group armies to which they belong. This could include fire support, air defense, air transport, aerial fire support, and electronic warfare/cyber-attack.