Category: China

China’s Military Strategy for a ‘New Era’

In the Journal of Strategic Studies, Joel Wuthnow and I examine the military strategic guidelines for China’s People’s Liberation Army adopted by the Central Military Commission in 2019.

This strategy was consistent with the previous one from 2014 but framed by Xi’s political consolidation, growing threats from the United States and Taiwan, and a new military structure. We document the strategy and then consider what would lead to a more fundamental change in the future.

Read the article here.

China Engages the Arctic

In an article in Asian Security, “China engages the Arctic: a great power in a regime complex,” Kathryn Lavelle, Liselotte Odgaard and I examine how China pursues its interests in the Arctic.

Specifically, we how and when it seeks to work through the existing “regime complex” versus engaging in bilateral cooperation with Arctic states. We find that China relies on global regimes regarding navigational issues, prefers bilateral cooperation for resource extraction, and prioritizes Arctic regimes to pursue scientific research. As a great power, China can and does use institutional complexity to its advantage.

Read the article here.

Stormy Seas: The South China Sea in US-China Relations

In this book chapter, Kacie Miura and I examine the role of the disputes in the South China Sea in the evolution of US-China relations.

Based on an examination of American and Chinese views of each other’s role in these waters over the last decade, we argue that the dispute has increased the scope and intensity of security competition between the United States and China. Each side now views the SCS disputes as a litmus test for the other’s intentions—for China, whether the US seeks to contain it; for the US, whether China seeks to overturn the existing regional order.

It appeared in a terrific volume on US-China relations edited by Avery Goldstein and Jacques De Lisle, After Engagement: Dilemmas in U.S.-China Security Relations.

Read the chapter here.

Opportunism in the South China Sea?

A number of recent analyses have emphasized that China is seizing pandemic-created opportunities to improve its position in the South China Sea as other countries are distracted or otherwise unable to respond.

A key implication of such claims is that absent the pandemic, China would have acted differently and perhaps with more restraint.

In a new piece for the Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage, I argue that China’s actions in the South China Sea so far in 2020 reflect a continuity of its approach to assert historic rights and to challenge the exclusive rights that Malaysia and Vietnam should enjoy in their Exclusive Economic Zones.

China’s “World-Class Military” Ambitions: Origins and Implications

An article based on my testimony last summer before the USCC has been published The Washington Quarterly.

I examine what the concept of building a “world-class military” as mentioned by Xi Jinping since 2016, especially in the 19th Part Congress Work Report.

I argue that the phrase “world-class military” should be viewed as a general, high-level, and
overarching concept for the development of the PLA. That is, it defines what it means to “achieve the goal of a strong army,” an objective that Xi introduced in early 2013 as part of his
“China dream.

At the same time, it does not outline a global military strategy or illuminate China’s global ambitions. Instead, a review of China’s current military strategy of “winning informatized local wars” best answers these questions.

Read the article here.