13 December 2017

Routledge Releases 2nd Edition of Handbook of Asian Security Studies; Offers Chapters on Key Regional Issues, Including “China’s Maritime Ambitions”

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Maritime Ambitions,” in Sumit Ganguly, Andrew Scobell, and Joseph Liow, Routledge Handbook of Asian Security Studies, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2017), 100-114.


Maritime forces are on the leading edge of China’s military modernization, both programmatically and geographically. They offer vital tools for to achieve progressively diminishing ripples of control in the Near Seas (Yellow, East, and South China Seas), influence in the Indo-Pacific “Two Oceans” region, and reach across the seas beyond. China’s People’s Armed Forces (PAF) include three principal sea forces. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the world’s largest, is second only to the U.S. Navy in aggregate capabilities. The China Coast Guard (CCG) is the world’s largest civil maritime force. Finally, the PAF Maritime Militia (PAFMM) is the world’s largest irregular sea force, and virtually the only one tasked with involvement in sovereignty disputes. This chapter surveys the underlying dynamics, structural trends, and future outlook for these forces.


China has long pursued a relatively consistent hierarchy of national security interests and priorities. What has varied most is how far down the hierarchy China’s leaders are able to extend concerted efforts without risking the maintenance of higher priorities. Formation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), followed by the easing of the Chinese Civil War and Cold War tensions as well as three-plus decades of meteoric national growth, now allow Beijing to focus efforts further down the list of objectives than ever before. Home to all of China’s unresolved feature and maritime claims, the Near Seas is now a core focus of its military development.

Coupled with the world’s second largest economy and defense budget, these factors have directly informed the current leadership vision. Xi Jinping’s “China dream” promises national rejuvenation led by a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) firmly in charge. He calls for a strong country with strong armed forces to safeguard stability at home as well as to command both regional preeminence and respect, influence, and deference to China’s interests abroad. As part of this ambitious effort, Xi is building on his predecessor’s efforts to transform China into a great “maritime power.” Unlike his predecessors, he is devoting considerable focus and energy to leading a thoroughgoing Chinese maritime transformation. He has prioritized “rights protection” over regional maritime stability, and specifically called for “strategic management of the sea,” apparently a comprehensive state effort to achieve and maintain dominance over the Near Seas in peacetime. …


The Routledge Handbook of Asian Security Studies: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover


The Routledge Handbook of Asian Security Studies provides a detailed exploration of security dynamics in the three distinct subregions that comprise Asia, and also bridges the study of these regions by exploring the geopolitical links between each of them.

The Handbook is divided into four geographical parts:

  • Part I: Northeast Asia
  • Part II: South Asia
  • Part III: Southeast Asia
  • Part IV: Cross-regional Issues

This fully revised and updated second edition addresses the significant developments which have taken place in Asia since the first edition appeared in 2009. It examines these developments at both regional and national levels, including the conflict surrounding the South China Sea, the long-standing Sino-Indian border dispute, and Pakistan’s investment in tactical nuclear weapons, amongst many others.

This book will be of great interest to students of Asian politics, security studies, war and conflict studies, foreign policy and international relations generally.


About the Editors

Sumit Ganguly is Professor of Political Science and holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, USA, and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. His most recent publication is Ascending India and Its State Capacity (with William R. Thompson, 2017).

Andrew Scobell is Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation and Adjunct Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, USA. His most recent publication is PLA Influence on China’s National Security Policymaking (2015).

Joseph Chinyong Liow is Dean and Professor of Comparative and International Politics at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His most recent publication is Religion and Nationalism in Southeast Asia (2016).


Table of Contents

Introduction, Sumit Ganguly, Andrew Scobell and Joseph Chinyong Liow

PART I: NorthEast Asia

  1. Whither China’s 21stCentury Trajectory?,Andrew Scobell
  2. Sino-Japanese Rivalry and Its Consequences for Asia, Sheila A. Smith
  3. North Korea’s Nuclear Weaponization Program: Background, Context, and Trends for the Future, Bruce Bechtol
  4. False Alarm: Xinjiang and China’s National Security, Yitzhak Shichor
  5. Origins, Intentions, and Security Implications of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, Jeffrey Reeves
  6. The Dynamics of Russo-Chinese Relations, Stephen Blank
  7. Taiwan’s Traditional Security Challenge as a Contested State, Ming-chin Monique Chu
  8. China’s Maritime Ambitions, Andrew S. Erickson

PART II: South Asia

  1. The Evolution of India’s Nuclear Weapons Program, Dinshaw Mistry
  2. Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Laying the Groundwork for Impunity, C. Christine Fair
  3. Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Asia, Shivaji Mukherjee
  4. India and Pakistan: Persistent Rivalry, Rajesh Basrur
  5. China and India: The Evolution of a Compound Rivalry, Manjeet S. Pardesi
  6. Civil-Military Relations in South Asia, Aqil Shah
  7. Human Security in India, Swarna Rajagopalan
  8. India and Its Great Power Aspirations, William R. Thompson

PART III: Southeast Asia

  1. ASEAN Centrality Tested, Mely Caballero-Anthony
  2. Genealogy of Conflict: The Roots, Evolution and Trajectory of the South China Sea Disputes, Richard Javad Heydarian
  3. Indonesia as a Regional Power: A Pan-Indo-Pacific Worldview, Vibhanshu Shekhar
  4. Terrorism and Counterterrorism in Indonesia, Susan Sim
  5. United States’ Pivot and Southeast Asia, Daniel Chua Wei Boon
  6. Democratization in Southeast Asia: Social, Institutional and Security Considerations,Michael Vatikiotis
  7. Assessing Peace Processes in Southeast Asia, S.P. Harish
  8. Foreign Policy and Political Changes in Post-Junta Myanmar, Renard Egreteau

PART IV: Cross-Regional Issues

  1. The Future of Great Power Rivalry in the Indian Ocean, Iskander Rehman
  2. Asian Regionalisms, David Capie
  3. Anatomy of a Rivalry: China and Japan in Southeast Asia, Hoo Tiang Boon
  4. The Future of Alliances in Asia, Andrew O’Neil
  5. The United States and Asia: Following Through on the Pivot, Robert Sutter


Subject Categories


BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:


HISTORY / Asia / General


HISTORY / Military / General


POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General


POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security


POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General