Archive | Blog Posts

24 July 2017

Chinese Navy Article Suggests “Far Seas” Ambitions, Reasons for Rapid Construction of Large Warships (Like Type 055 Cruiser)

A thought-provoking analysis of China’s potential ambitions regarding distant waters and rationale for its recent spate of large warship construction. As the authors rightly imply: While warships may be used in practice for many purposes, including humanitarian cooperation, they are extremely expensive and challenging to acquire, maintain, and ultimately retire. National leaders typically make the […]

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24 July 2017

Read Now If You Haven’t Already: “Three PLAN Officers May Have Just Revealed What China Wants in the South China Sea”

If you haven’t yet read this fascinating and revealing analysis, I strongly recommend that you do so immediately!
Ryan Martinson and Katsuya Yamamoto, “Three PLAN Officers May Have Just Revealed What China Wants in the South China Sea,” The National Interest, 9 July 2017.
Chinese strategy in the South China Sea is expansionary in aim, incremental by […]

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25 April 2017

Marking the Launch of Beijing’s First Homebuilt Hull: The China Aircraft Carrier Bookshelf

Ronald O’Rourke, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 29 March 2017), RL33153.
p. 18
Aircraft Carriers and Carrier-Based Aircraft59
China has begun operating its first aircraft carrier—the Liaoning, a refurbished ex-Ukrainian aircraft carrier that entered service in 2012. China is well along with the construction of a second carrier (China’s […]

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19 April 2017

Harvard Fairbank Center Welcomes New Executive Director

Fairbank Center Welcomes New Executive Director

Photo: Director Michael Szonyi with newly appointed Executive Director Dan Murphy
Fairbank Center Welcomes New Executive Director
Apr 17, 2017 | News, Outreach
Dan Murphy, former Program Director at the Yale Center Beijing, appointed new Executive Director of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and Harvard China Fund.
From the John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies:
The Fairbank […]

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29 March 2017

The China Aircraft Carrier Bookshelf

Minnie Chan, “China Building Navy’s Biggest Amphibious Assault Vessel, Sources Say,” South China Morning Post, 29 March 2017.
“… Another source said that after visit his visit to see the Type 075 [Landing Helicopter Dock next-generation large amphibious assault vessel] under construction, [PLA Navy Commander] Vice-Admiral Shen [Jinlong] also inspected progress on the new Type 002 […]

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24 March 2017

China Open Source Example: Shipyard Details Sansha Maritime Militia Vessel with “Weapons and Equipment Room” (武备库) and “Ammunition Store” (弹药库)

Andrew S. Erickson, “China Open Source Example: Shipyard Details Sansha Maritime Militia Vessel with ‘Weapons and Equipment Room’ (武备库) and ‘Ammunition Store’ (弹药库),” China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国, 24 March 2017.
“2015年12月西江船厂58.5米灯光罩网渔船交船” [Xijiang Shipyard’s 58.5 Meter Light Trap Falling-net Fishing Vessel Delivered in December 2015], Taicheng Shipyard, 12 December 2015. Original URL:
Guangzhou […]

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09 March 2017

With Park’s Impeachment, Both South Korea & The Philippines Face “Ambivalent Alignment”: The Complex Politics of American Security Ties in Post-Authoritarian East Asia

Today’s impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye raises the specter of U.S.-ROK relations once again being buffeted by “ambivalent alignment.” National University of Singapore Professor Ja Ian Chong and I coined this term to describe an important and challenging dynamic. In various East Asian societies that have transitioned from authoritarianism towards or into liberal […]

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08 February 2017

China Open Source Example: Proposal to Hainan Government Reveals Maritime Militia Activities

Andrew S. Erickson, “China Open Source Example: Proposal to Hainan Government Reveals Maritime Militia Activities,” China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国, 7 February 2017.
“关于建设南海渔业后勤补给基地, 发展南海渔业生产的建议” [Proposal on Establishing Fisheries Logistics Supply Bases and Developing Fisheries Production in the South China Sea], submitted to the Hainan Provincial Government, 2 February 2015.
In February 2015, […]

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01 February 2017

Latest China Civil Maritime Insights & More–From The Updated Ryan Martinson Bookshelf

For analysis of Chinese maritime policy and China Coast Guard development, it simply doesn’t get any better than this. Enjoy this one-stop library of my colleague Ryan Martinson’s work, and please congratulate him on his recent promotion to Assistant Professor at the Naval War College!
James E. Fanell and Ryan D. Martinson, “Countering Chinese Expansion through […]

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06 January 2017

Chinese Naval Shipbuilding Ships Immediately When Ordered Directly from Naval Institute Press

Click here to order Chinese Naval Shipbuilding directly from Naval Institute Press.
It will ship immediately from Illinois.
(The 30 copies I ordered were delivered quickly!)

Andrew S. Erickson, ed., Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: An Ambitious and Uncertain Course (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2016).
Eventually, as with the previous five volumes in our “Studies in Chinese Maritime […]

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22 November 2016

U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift on China’s Maritime Militia: “Let’s acknowledge that it’s there. Let’s acknowledge how it’s being command-and-controlled.”

Christopher P. Cavas, “China’s Maritime Militia a Growing Concern,” Defense News, 21 November 2016.
WASHINGTON Near the top of US Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift’s concerns is China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and close behind is the country’s burgeoning Coast Guard. But a third government-controlled seagoing force, the little-known and somewhat mysterious maritime militia, […]

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08 November 2016

Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies: Accepting Nominations

Dear Colleague,
The National Bureau of Asian Research is accepting nominations for the Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies, an award established to honor the late Ellis Joffe, a renowned China scholar, friend, and mentor to generations of PLA watchers.
Nominations should be received by January 1, 2017.
For more information about the Joffe Prize, please contact

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21 October 2016

Alliance Damage Control Under Duterte Starts with Understanding the Philippine Component of “Ambivalent Alignment”: The Complex Politics of American Security Ties in Post-Authoritarian East Asia

In the Philippines, America’s colonial legacy casts a long shadow. The military-basing agreement between the United States and the Philippines following its independence, due to expire in 1991, drew increasing Filipino elite opposition in the 1980s. In June 1991, Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption destroyed Clark Air Base. U.S. and Filipino negotiators could not agree on a […]

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30 August 2016

China Open Source Example: Big Plans for Maritime Militia Base Buildup, as Seen from a Government Proposal Document

“关于在文昌木兰头规划建设三沙战略腹地和民兵渔船停泊港的建议” [Proposal for the Planning and Construction of Wenchang Mulantou Rear Area for Sansha and Harbor for Mooring Maritime Militia Fishing Vessels], submitted to the Hainan Provincial Government, 12 February 2015.
This proposal, as a result of a special assessment made by the Development Research Center of the State Council and submitted to the Hainan Provincial […]

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11 August 2016

A Guide to Catching Up on China’s Politics and Military

Peter Mattis, “A Guide to Catching Up on China’s Politics and Military,” War on the Rocks, 3 August 2016.
Coinciding with National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s recent trip to China, the White House released a statement from Rice on the U.S.-China relationship in which she opined, “There is no more consequential bilateral relationship than the U.S.-China […]

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04 August 2016

The China Anti-Piracy Bookshelf

Now that Amazon has just released the Kindle version of my book with Austin Strange on China’s ongoing anti-piracy efforts, achievements, and lessons learned in the Gulf of Aden, I wanted to compile our diverse publications and presentations to date on the subject in one convenient location accessible to all. I’m also including an article […]

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12 July 2016

UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal Press Release & Complete Set of Full Text PDF Documents—PCA Case No. 2013-19 – The South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China)

Here are the key documents:
Award     (This is the complete 501-page ruling.)
Press Release No. 11 — English     (This and the other two linguistic variants offer a pithy summary of the detailed ruling.)
Press Release No. 11 — French
Press Release No. 11 — Unofficial Chinese Translation
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Gaelle Chevalier <>
Date: Tue, Jul 12, 2016 […]

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16 June 2016

Reported Chinese Efforts to Conceal Maritime Militia Reach Intelligence-Insulting Level

Chinese officials are insulting foreign intelligence, likely in all senses of the word.
Xi Jinping’s visit in 2013 to Tanmen Township, and the designation of its Maritime Militia as a national model, has made this the leading unit for other seaports to emulate. Yet earlier this month, as the Al Jazeera article below documents, a local […]

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02 June 2016

Team Tsai Ing-wen: a Who’s Who of the New Cabinet

A handy guide with useful analysis on a vital and timely subject!
Lauren Dickey, “Team Tsai Ing-wen: a Who’s Who of the New Cabinet,” Jamestown Foundation China Brief 16.9, 1 June 2016.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office on May 20 with no shortage of challenges ahead. Her inaugural speech focused on five specific areas: transforming economic […]

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