Category: China

China’s Changing Approach to Military Strategy

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

China and Escalation over the Senkaku Islands

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:

  1. China escalated because Japan’s actions challenged China’s relatively weak position in the dispute.
  2. By escalating, China could counter Japanese actions and strengthen its position in the dispute.
  3. 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.