Military power

This screen grab made from a video released by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV shows the launch ceremony of the Fujian, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft carrier, at a shipyard in Shanghai, China, on 17 June 2022. (CCTV/AFP)

China’s third aircraft carrier: No need to panic just yet

China’s third aircraft carrier is not yet nuclear-powered and won’t be battle-ready for some years yet. Besides, in terms of possible warfare, it’s the numerous surface combatants China possesses that the US should be worried about, says Loro Horta. But with every iteration of China’s aircraft carrier, its ambitions of eventually taking on the US in the open Pacific is increasingly clear.
US President Joe Biden during a news conference following the final day of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit at the IFEMA congress center in Madrid, Spain, on 30 June 2022. (Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg)

What a ‘resurrected’ NATO means for China and the world

The recent NATO summit in Madrid seems to indicate that NATO is making a comeback in full force. For China, painted as presenting “systemic challenges” to NATO, this should sound a warning that when the time is ripe for the US to contain China, key countries in the Asia-Pacific and the EU will not be on its side.
A destroyed Russian T-72 tank is seen, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in the village of Dmytrivka in Ukraine, 1 April 2022. (Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters)

Chinese academic: Ukraine war shows a corrupt Russia inside and out

Outdated military equipment, expired rations and the plundering of household appliances — these are the realities of Russia’s military fighting in Ukraine. Meanwhile, those at home face a leadership characterised by corruption and impunity. Economics professor Zhu Ying highlights the incidents that have been laid bare for the world to see and how they may lead to Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s downfall.
Service members of pro-Russian troops ride an armoured personnel carrier during fighting in Ukraine-Russia conflict near the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, 5 May 2022. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

The Russia-Ukraine war and its potential impact on Russia’s arms sales to Southeast Asia

Russia has been the largest exporter of arms to Southeast Asia over the past two decades but the value of its defence sales to the region has fallen sharply since its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will only exacerbate this downward trend. Not only that, as the war looks set to drag on for months and possibly years, and sanctions increasingly disrupt Russia’s economy, Moscow’s dependence on Beijing may deepen. China will seek quid quo pros, probably including discounted energy imports, increased access to the Russian defence industrial sector’s most sensitive military technology and greater support for its "core interests" in Asia such as Taiwan and the South China Sea.
The BrahMos missile jointly developed by India and Russia, on display at IMDS-2007. (Wikimedia)

Arms sales: A new vector of Sino-Indian competition in the Indo-Pacific

The sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines, even when it is a product of collaboration with Russia, is the first indigenously developed weapon system India has sold in the region, and could drum up interest from other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia. With this development, India-China competition in the Indo-Pacific is set to increase as India sends a signal that it is able and willing to respond in kind if China continues to arm India’s adversaries and influence its neighbours.
Soldiers of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) fire a mortar during a live-fire military exercise in Anhui province, China, 22 May 2021. (CNS photo via Reuters)

Will China abandon its 'no first use' nuclear policy?

Li Nan notes the seeming contradiction of China expanding its nuclear force while vowing not to fight a nuclear war. He explains that China seeks to ensure that it has nuclear counterattack capabilities that can survive the first nuclear attack and launch retaliatory strikes. At the moment, its “no first use” policy is intact, but the debate around it suggests that China’s nuclear strategists have begun to explore the possibility of limited nuclear war that can be winnable against enemy targets.
A soldier participates in a military exercise simulating an invasion by China, organised by Taiwan's Army Infantry Training Command, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on 6 January 2022. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

Why Xi Jinping ignores Washington's calls for cross-strait talks

Chen I-hsin asserts that the US is no longer in a position to facilitate cross-strait talks, given that China’s national strength has increased considerably and the US is no longer seen as a neutral arbiter. Moreover, the “two states” theory which Taiwan’s ruling party seems to support leaves little room for dialogue, rendering any pressure from the US futile.
A nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarine of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is seen during a military display in the South China Sea, 12 April 2018. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s ‘hegemony with Chinese characteristics’ in the South China Sea

Though in word it professes to never seek hegemony or bully smaller countries, in deed, China behaves unilaterally and flexes its economic and political muscles for dominance in the South China Sea, says Indian academic Amrita Jash.
Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) take part in combat training in the Gobi desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 18 May 2018. (Reuters/Stringer/File Photo)

5 nuclear-weapon states vow no arms race: A more peaceful world?

China has made no bones about its role in shepherding a first-ever P5 joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding an arms race. While the release of the statement shows some rational thought and mutual respect among the five nuclear powers, is it of any significance in moderating conflicts between nation-states and preventing possible fights in hotspots such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait?