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Andrew S. Erickson China's rapid development is reshaping the world in all dimensions. Chinese language open sources offer insights into these critical trends. While such materials are increasing constantly in number, diversity, and sophistication, only a fraction is available in English. The analyses available here, many based on sources not previously considered outside China, are designed to help bridge that gap--and thereby increase understanding of the most dynamic great power in the international system today.

17 August 2018

Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant: Pentagon Report Spotlights Shadowy Maritime Militia—China’s Third Sea Force

Andrew S. Erickson, “Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant: Pentagon Report Spotlights Shadowy Maritime Militia—China’s Third Sea Force,” China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国, 17 August 2018.
For countering China’s Third Sea Force, sunlight is the best disinfectant and demonstrated awareness is an important element of deterrence. This year’s Department of Defense report to Congress offers both.
Finally, […]

16 August 2018

Pentagon Releases 2018 China Military Report—U.S. Government’s Most Extensive Public Coverage Yet of China’s Maritime Militia

My take: While virtually unique and heretofore publicly obscure, China’s Maritime Militia is known clearly to the U.S. government, which monitors it closely.
A component of the People’s Armed Forces, it operates under a direct military chain of command to conduct state-sponsored activities. The PAFMM is locally-supported, but answers to the very top of China’s […]

16 August 2018

U.S. Department of Defense Annual Reports to Congress on China’s Military Power—2002-18—Download Complete Set + Read Highlights Here

Since I couldn’t find a single-source location on the Internet, I decided to make my own. Now you can download PDFs of the Department of Defense’s China reports directly by year:
2018 + Accompanying Fact Sheet
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
 
Additionally, here are some highlights from, and analysis of, several of the most recent reports:
 
2017
Andrew S. Erickson, “New Pentagon China Report Highlights the Rise […]

16 August 2018

U.S. Department of Defense Annual Report to Congress—“Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2018”—Click here to read the full-text Report & Fact Sheet

Click here to read the full text of the 2018 report and accompanying Fact Sheet.
Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2018 (Arlington, VA: Department of Defense, 16 August 2018).

12 August 2018

China’s 30th Escort Task Force Sets Sail for Gulf of Aden as Navy’s Anti-Piracy Mission Approaches 10-Year Mark

Huang Panyue, ed.; Bei Guo Fang Wu, “PLA Navy Ends Era of ‘Supply-Ship Troika’ in its Escort Mission,” China Military Online, 9 August 2018.
The 30th Chinese naval escort taskforce set sail on August 6 from a naval port in Qingdao of east China’s Shandong Province to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia […]

30 July 2018

China’s Armed Forces: Strong and Growing Stronger

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Armed Forces: Strong and Growing Stronger,” Harvard Fairbank Center Blog Post, 30 July 2018.
Andrew S. Erickson, Professor at the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) and Associate in Research at the Fairbank Center, assesses how strong China’s armed forces are and why that matters.
How strong are China’s three armed forces? The […]

24 July 2018

New Version of O’Rourke’s Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report: “China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress”

Ronald O’Rourke, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress, RL33153 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 19 July 2018).

If you have trouble accessing the website above, please download a cached copy here.
Summary

The question of how the United States should respond to China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is a key issue in […]

23 July 2018

New CRS Report by O’Rourke—“China’s Actions in South and East China Seas: Implications for U.S. Interests—Background and Issues for Congress”—Includes Maritime Militia Analysis

Ronald O’Rourke, China’s Actions in South and East China Seas: Implications for U.S. Interests—Background and Issues for Congress, R42784 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 17 July 2018).
If you have trouble accessing the website above, please download a cached copy here.
KEY EXCERPTS:
USE OF CHINA COAST GUARD SHIPS, MARITIME MILITIA, AND OIL PLATFORMS ………………………………………………………………………………………. 16
p. 16
Use of Coast Guard […]

16 July 2018

ONI’s New 2018 China Recognition & Identification Guide Shows 3 Different Types of Maritime Militia Vessels

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), Coast Guard, and Government Maritime Forces 2018 Recognition and Identification Guide (Suitland, MD: Office of Naval Intelligence, July 2018).
Click here to download a cached copy.
Excerpt showing three types of Sansha City Maritime Militia vessels:

FT-16 WAG Qiong Sansha Yu 00000-00100- series numbers (60 meters)
FT-17 WAG Qiong Sansha Yu 00200-series numbers (60 meters)
FT-18 […]

13 July 2018

China Sends Spy Ship to RIMPAC: Current Situation & Previous Examples

The big news today at sea is that China has sent an auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) ship to spy on the RIMPAC 2018 international exercise off Hawaii, from which its navy was formally disinvited.
Below, I’m posting what has been publicly reported on this event thus far, together with detailed analysis of China’s well-documented history of dispatching […]

22 June 2018

The Economist: “China has Militarised the South China Sea and Got Away with it”

Banyan, “China has Militarised the South China Sea and Got Away with it,” The Economist, 21 June 2018.
It is not clear what the “consequences” are that America has promised
LESS than three years ago, Xi Jinping stood with Barack Obama in the Rose Garden at the White House and lied through his teeth. In response to […]

20 June 2018

The Complete China Maritime Militia Bookshelf: Fully Updated Just Now

INFORMATION & ANALYSIS CONCERNING CHINA’S MARITIME MILITIA:

Tracking China’s “Little Blue Men”—A Comprehensive Maritime Militia Compendium
Rarely is a topic so little recognized and so little understood, yet so important and so amenable to research using Chinese-language open sources… To increase awareness and understanding of this important subject, here is a convenient compendium of major publications and […]

31 May 2018

Andrew M. McGreevy Reviews “Chinese Naval Shipbuilding” in Association of Asian Studies (AAS) Journal Education About Asia

Andrew M. McGreevy; review of Andrew S. Erickson, ed., Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: An Ambitious and Uncertain Course (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2016); Education About Asia 23.1 (Spring 2018): 63-64.
The thesis of Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: An Ambitious and Uncertain Course is that the People’s Republic of China, since 2000, has become the world leader in commercial shipping and […]

26 May 2018

Newest CRS Report by O’Rourke—“China’s Maritime Territorial & Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes”—Includes Maritime Militia Analysis

Ronald O’Rourke, Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress, R42784 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 24 May 2018).
If you have trouble accessing the website above, please download a cached copy here.
KEY EXCERPTS:
1972 CONVENTION ON PREVENTING COLLISIONS AT SEA (COLREGs)………………………………… 13
p. 13
1972 Convention on Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs)
China and the […]

26 May 2018

Latest Edition of O’Rourke’s Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report: “China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress”

Ronald O’Rourke,

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress,

RL33153 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 21 May 2018).

If you have trouble accessing the website above, please download a cached copy here.
Summary

The question of how the United States should respond to China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is a key […]

25 May 2018

Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 2017

Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 2017 (Arlington, VA: Office of the Secretary of Defense, 22 May 2018).
Click here to download a cached PDF copy.
A Report to Congress Pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
Section 1236 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Public Law […]

24 May 2018

Revisiting the U.S.-Soviet Space Race: Comparing Two Systems in Their Competition to Land a Man on the Moon

Andrew S. Erickson, “Revisiting the U.S.-Soviet Space Race: Comparing Two Systems in Their Competition to Land a Man on the Moon,” Acta Astronautica 148 (July 2018): 376-84.
Received 31 March 2018, Accepted 29 April 2018, Available online 2 May 2018.
Click here for a PDF copy of the final version of the article. Download now: free access expires 13 […]

24 May 2018

Scalene Perspectives, Isosceles Ideas and Equilateral Dependence: The U.S.-Europe-China “Strategic Triangle” and Transatlantic Policy

Andrew S. Erickson and Austin M. Strange, “Scalene Perspectives, Isosceles Ideas and Equilateral Dependence: The U.S.-Europe-China ‘Strategic Triangle’ and Transatlantic Policy,” China International Strategy Review 2016: 337-61.
The United States (US), European Union (EU) and People’s Republic of China (PRC) are sometimes viewed as a “strategic triangle”, with economic, political, and security dimensions. Within the triangle, debate persists […]

23 May 2018

Official Pentagon Statement on China’s Dis-invitation from Participating in 2018 RIMPAC Exercise

Subject: China disinvited from RIMPAC
Attributable to Department of Defense Spokesman LtCol. Christopher Logan:
“The United States is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific. China’s continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serve to raise tensions and destabilize the region. As an initial response to China’s continued militarization of the South […]