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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.

19 April 2021

Manila’s Images Are Revealing the Secrets of China’s Maritime Militia

Ryan D. Martinson and Andrew S. Erickson, “Manila’s Images Are Revealing the Secrets of China’s Maritime Militia,” Foreign Policy, 19 April 2021.
Details of the ships haunting disputed rocks show China’s plans.

Six Chinese fishing vessels believed to be part of the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia, including the Yuexinhuiyu 60138 and 60139, are moored together at Whitsun Reef […]

17 April 2021

An Unparalleled Reference! “70 Years of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force”

Just released: a landmark volume with 474 data-packed pages and 1,955 endnotes on the evolution of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force since its founding in 1949! Entitled “70 Years of the PLA Air Force,” this unique reference is published by the China Aerospace Studies Institute, based at Air University and National Defense University. There […]

17 April 2021

Critical Issues Confronting China Series Seminar Featuring M. Taylor Fravel – China’s Military Strategy in the New Era

“Critical Issues Confronting China Series Seminar Featuring M. Taylor Fravel – China’s Military Strategy in the New Era,” via Zoom, Harvard Fairbank Center, 24 March 2021.
***Recording now available!*** Click here to listen to the event on SoundCloud.

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Speaker: M. Taylor Fravel, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director of the […]

13 April 2021

Competition with China Can Save the Planet: Pressure, Not Partnership, Will Spur Progress on Climate Change

Andrew S. Erickson and Gabriel Collins, “Competition with China Can Save the Planet: Pressure, Not Partnership, Will Spur Progress on Climate Change,” Foreign Affairs 100.3 (May/June 2021): 136–49.

China’s climate diplomacy stands at a great remove from the country’s coal-hungry industrial reality.

When it comes to climate change, the United States should compete, not cooperate, with China.

ANDREW S. ERICKSON is […]

12 April 2021

Beijing Has a Navy it Doesn’t Even Admit Exists, Experts Say. And it’s Swarming Parts of the South China Sea

Brad Lendon, “Beijing Has a Navy it Doesn’t Even Admit Exists, Experts Say. And it’s Swarming Parts of the South China Sea,” CNN, 12 April 2021.
… … … Despite Chinese government denials, there is little ambiguity in Western circles about what the Pentagon calls the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM). …
Some experts have taken to […]

12 April 2021

Key China Content from New NIC Report: “Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World”

Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World (Office of the Director of National Intelligence: National Intelligence Council, March 2021).

KEY CHINA-RELATED CONTENT (Hypothetical scenarios excluded because their details are notional):
I. MAIN REPORT
p. 7
“Asian economies appear poised to continue decades of growth, at least through 2030, and are looking to use their economic and population size to influence […]

01 April 2021

Follow World’s Most Maritime Militia, Coast Guard, & Navy Ships—with Today’s New Edition of “Modern Chinese Maritime Forces”

Manfred Meyer (edited by Larry Bond and Chris Carlson), Modern Chinese Maritime Forces (Admiralty Trilogy Group, 1 April 2021).

“A compilation of all ships and boats of the Chinese Navy, Coast Guard, Maritime Militia and other state authorities”
In terms of ship numbers, each of China’s three sea forces is the world’s largest by a large margin. For […]

29 March 2021

Records Expose China’s Maritime Militia at Whitsun Reef

Andrew S. Erickson and Ryan D. Martinson, “Records Expose China’s Maritime Militia at Whitsun Reef,” Foreign Policy, 29 March 2021.
Beijing Claims They Are Fishing Vessels. The Data Shows Otherwise.
Accompanying slide deck: Andrew S. Erickson and Ryan D. Martinson, “Exposed! Here are China’s Maritime Militia Ships at Whitsun Reef,” China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国, 29 March […]

25 March 2021

The Ryan Martinson Bookshelf: Unique Insights on China’s Maritime Policies, Forces & Ops + Whitsun Reef/Spratlys

For analysis of Chinese maritime policy and China Coast Guard development, it simply doesn’t get any better than this. Enjoy this fully updated one-stop library of my colleague Prof. Ryan Martinson’s work. It’s well worth reading all of these superb publications and interviews, even as they exceed three dozen in number!
Most recently, as both […]

22 March 2021

China’s Secretive Maritime Militia May Be Gathering at Whitsun Reef

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Secretive Maritime Militia May Be Gathering at Whitsun Reef,” Foreign Policy, 22 March 2021.
Boats designed to overwhelm civilian foes can be turned into shields in real conflict.

An obscure boomerang-shaped feature in the South China Sea may host the next phase of PRC maritime coercion. Since at least March 7, 2021, many […]

22 March 2021

Manila Protests Presence of Hundreds of Chinese Ships in Contested Waters

Aie Balagtas See and Zachary Haver, “Manila Protests Presence of Hundreds of Chinese Ships in Contested Waters,” Radio Free Asia, 22 March 2021.

… … … According to Philippine National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., the 220 Chinese ships were seen moored at the “large boomerang shaped shallow coral reef” [Whitsun Reef] on March 7 – […]

22 March 2021

What’s Next for U.S.-China Military Relations?

Brilliant must-read article on one of the few potentially productive areas for U.S.-China security dialogue and cooperation at this time!

Robert D. Williams, “What’s Next for U.S.-China Military Relations?” Lawfare Blog, 22 March 22, 2021.

Professor Williams is a senior research scholar, lecturer, and executive director of the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. He is also a nonresident […]

21 March 2021

The China Maritime Militia Bookshelf: Latest Data, Official Statements, Fleet Estimate & Trilingual Wikipedia Entry

Andrew S. Erickson, “Tracking China’s ‘Little Blue Men’—A Comprehensive Maritime Militia Compendium,” China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国, 21 March 2021.

As Coronavirus rages on, fishy things have been happening across the South and East China Seas, home to virtually all of China’s unresolved maritime disputes… Since Beijing remains far from being fully forthcoming and transparent, it is to be hoped […]

20 March 2021

Latest on CCG + PAFMM & from Biden Administration—“U.S.-China Strategic Competition in South & East China Seas”—O’Rourke’s Newest CRS Report

This Library of Congress report is indispensable for policy-makers and analysts alike!

Ronald O’Rourke, U.S.-China Strategic Competition in South and East China Seas: Implications for U.S. Interests—Background and Issues for Congress, R42784 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 18 March 2021).
If you have trouble accessing the website above, please download a cached copy here.
You can also click here to access the […]

15 March 2021

U.S. Navy Projections of PLAN Force Size through 2040—Documented Exclusively in Latest CRS Report—“China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities”

Ronald O’Rourke, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress, RL33153 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 9 March 2021).
Having trouble accessing the website above? Please download a cached copy here!
You can also click here to access the report via the public CRS website.

In addition to his continuous incremental improvements, Ronald O’Rourke has revised this latest edition […]

14 March 2021

Testimony by Admiral Philip S. Davidson, USN, Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command: “U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Posture”

Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing: United States Indo-Pacific Command
Date: Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Time: 09:30 AM
Location: Room SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building

Agenda
To receive testimony on United States Indo-Pacific Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program.
*There will be a closed session at 8:00a.m., immediately prior […]

13 March 2021

Japan Ministry of Defense: “Security Environment Surrounding Japan”

This latest set of major reports from Japan’s Defense Ministry brims with exquisitely detailed graphics that convey important new information. (Identical versions in English and Japanese.) Those of us who’ve long enjoyed exchanges with Japanese government interlocutors are familiar with this elegant style. The course I took with Edward Tufte makes me think he’d plead for fewer […]

12 March 2021

Latest Edition of CRS Report Encapsulating Our Era—“Renewed Great Power Competition”

Ronald O’Rourke, Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress, R43838 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 4 March 2021).
If you have trouble accessing the website above, please download a cached copy here.
You can also click here to access the report via the new public CRS website.

Summary

The renewal of great power competition was acknowledged alongside other considerations in […]

12 March 2021

Annual Freedom of Navigation Report, Fiscal Year 2020

Report to Congress, Annual Freedom of Navigation Report, Fiscal Year 2020 (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 27 January 2021).

p. 3
The Annual DoD FON Report
Every year, DoD releases an unclassified report identifying the excessive maritime claims that U.S. forces operationally challenged over the last fiscal year.
Below is a summary of excessive maritime claims that DoD […]