People's Liberation Army

A group of soldiers who finished a month of training wait to depart from the ferry, and is about to finish the rest of their three-month mandatory military service in Nangan, Matsu, Taiwan, 17 March 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan's young men are rushing to complete their military service

With the Russia-Ukraine war top of mind, Taiwan is moving to ramp up its defence capabilities by lengthening its military service from four months to one year. As a result, parents and young men are trying to bring forward the period of service before the extension is implemented. But how effective will lengthening the period of service be? Zaobao journalist Chuang Hui Liang assesses the combat-readiness of Taiwanese young people.
An undated handout photo released on 29 March 2022 by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) shows a China Police Liason Team officer (centre) training local RSIPF officers. (Handout/RSIPF/AFP)

China-Solomon Islands security pact: Alarm bells ringing for Australia and New Zealand?

Dr Anne-Marie Schleich, a former German ambassador to New Zealand, explains why Australia and New Zealand are worried about a new security deal inked between China and Solomon Islands. Have they not been paying enough attention to their own backyard?
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.
Girls at a rehearsal ahead of the Double Tenth Day celebration in front of presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan, 10 October 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Who dictates war and peace in the Taiwan Strait?

Mainland China’s aerial incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone has almost become a regular routine, US warships sail through the Taiwan Strait ever so often while international military drills are conducted from time to time. As Taiwan is increasingly seen as “the most dangerous place on earth", the mainland, the US, and Taiwan are all making political statements against escalation but are preparing for military action just in case. Might conflict erupt as early as 2024? Does the key to solving the Taiwan Strait issue lie with Beijing and Taipei and the larger question of defining the Chinese nation?
A man walks past a model of LY-70 air defense missile weapon system displayed at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, or Airshow China, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China, 29 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Beyond a hypersonic missile: China’s larger objectives

Amid recent reports of China testing a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile, Loro Horta says that gaining a tactical operational advantage is not an objective in itself. Rather, it is a tool with which a great power accomplishes its strategic objectives. What are China’s strategic and political objectives in acquiring these capabilities and will we see another nuclear arms race?
Visitors walk past military aircraft displayed at Airshow China, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China, 29 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China displays its new weapons amid cross-strait tensions

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes that over the past month, China has revealed several new military aircraft, such as stealth fighters and early warning aircraft, as well as a powerful missile system. This is a signal that China is catching up with the US in terms of aircraft technology. Furthermore, the timing of these unveilings might have more than a little to do with the current state of cross-strait relations.
Mainland China has halted imports of sugar apples and wax apples from Taiwan due to checks that revealed pests on the fruits. (CNS)

Beijing bans Taiwan fruit imports: Impoverishing Taiwan to achieve reunification?

Following a block of pineapple imports from Taiwan in February, mainland China has followed up with a halt on sugar apples and wax apples. While the blocks were seemingly due to pests found on the fruits, could there be a political reason behind the moves? And could the moves help achieve China's aim?
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the commissioning ceremony of three PLA Navy battle warships in Sanya, Hainan province, China, 23 April 2021. (Xinhua)

What does the high-profile launch of three new PLA warships tell us?

The PLA Navy recently launched three heavy-duty battle warships — the Hainan, the Dalian and the Changzheng 18 — all in one go, prompting suggestions that the Chinese are now more confident about their strategic defence capabilities. Yu Zeyuan has the details.
US President Joe Biden meets virtually with leaders of the Quad countries of Australia, India, Japan and the US in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on 12 March 2021. (Olivier Douliery/AFP)

Biden’s impressive ‘three-in-one’ policy to deal with China

Biden’s brilliant stroke of sending his close advisors to Taiwan while sending the US climate envoy to Beijing shows that the US is certainly prepared to be “competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be, and adversarial when it must be”. How can China create room for manoeuvre within this framework?