In a recently published edited volume, China’s Evolving Military Strategy, I examine how Chinese thinking about military strategy is changing by comparing the 2013 edition of The Science of Military Strategy to the 2001 edition.
I reach two general conclusions:
- The 2013 edition represents an evolution of China’s approach to thinking about military strategy. It does not contain a description of a revolutionary new approach to China’s military strategy. Instead, it examines changes in China’s security environment through traditional concepts that have underpinned the PLA’s approach to strategy, such as “active defense,” by modifying or adjusting these ideas based on new circumstances.
- China’s new and expanding interests overseas, along with worldwide advances in military technology and the posture of potential adversaries, are expanding the battlespace in which the PLA will need to operate and increasing the importance of greater strategic depth. Much of the book can be interpreted as examining how the PLA should respond to these new conditions based on its traditional approach to strategy.
A preprint is available here.
In a recent article for a new journal, Global Summitry, I examine China’s behavior in the dispute with Japan over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands.
Before 2010, China adopted a low-key approach to the dispute. After 2010, however, China chose to escalate the dispute, first in response to Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing vessel in September 2010 and then in response to the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the islands in September 2012.
I make three points in the article:
- China escalated because Japan’s actions challenged China’s relatively weak position in the dispute.
- By escalating, China could counter Japanese actions and strengthen its position in the dispute.
- Since late 2013, the dispute appears to have stabilized. China’s patrols within twelve nautical miles of the islands have strengthened China’s position in the dispute, while Japan has refrained from developing the islands.
Read the article here.
For the Maritime Awareness Project, I wrote a short piece analyzing the location of China’s seizure of an underwater unmanned vehicle, a drone. Most importantly, the drone was seized outsized the nine-dashed line depicted on Chinese maps and widely believed to represent China’s maritime claims in the region.
Read the piece here.
For The National Interest, I assess the strategic implications of the tribunal’s award.
I stress three implications: Read more
For The Washington Post, I examine why China cares so much about its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
I do so by comparing briefly why China was able to settle so many of its land boundary disputes but so few of its offshore island disputes.
The reasons are: Read more
I wrote the following for ChinaFile:
My initial reaction is that the tribunal’s award overwhelmingly favors the Philippines—a huge win for Manila. Read more
For the Maritime Awareness Project, I examine how three recent fishing disputes between China and Indonesia prompted China to clarify its claims to historic rights. Read more
I have written a short piece for the South China Morning Post, which outlines how China may react to the arbitral tribunal’s award next week.
I make three points: Read more
In a new article in International Security, Fiona Cunningham and I examine whether China will abandon its long-standing nuclear strategy of assured retaliation for a first-use posture.
We reach three conclusions: Read more
As the thoughtful discussion on ChinaFile notes, the upcoming military review is designed to serve several different purposes. The actual military purpose of the parade, however, should not be overlooked. Read more