People's Liberation Army

This photo taken on 4 January 2021 shows Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers assembling during military training at Pamir Mountains in Kashgar, northwestern China's Xinjiang region. (STR/AFP)

Japanese academic: China needs to show more self-restraint in PLA's military activities

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has ramped up its military activities in the South China Sea, East China Sea and around the island of Taiwan in the year 2020. Japanese academic Sugiura Yasuyuki believes that such actions will continue to escalate this coming year. He thinks China needs to exercise some restraint to avoid destabilising the status quo in the East Asia region.
A soldier wearing a face mask gestures outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Will Beijing roll out a 'national reunification law' targeting Taiwan?

A poster released by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and a question by a Xinhua reporter sparked speculations of a possible “national reunification law”. Will Beijing roll out such a law targeting Taiwan, and would it set a timeline for “military reunification”? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong examines the issue.
Military personnel stand in formation next to a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping (back) outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

What has changed in China’s South China Sea policy under Xi Jinping?

Li Nan sees that China has been using more aggressive “defensive” strategies in the South China Sea (SCS) under Xi Jinping, which includes the building of several artificial islands and the consolidation of administrative control of Chinese possessions and claims in the SCS. While policy insiders in China often see these actions as defensive, those who have a stake in the SCS have cause to disagree.
Soldiers gather in front of Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) fighter jets at Makung Air Force Base in Taiwan's offshore island of Penghu, 22 September 2020. (Yimou Lee/REUTERS)

The only way out for the Taiwan issue

While the current situation in the Taiwan Strait seems to be tense, how likely is it to boil over? Both sides are fully aware that if fighting does break out, other countries are likely to get involved, and the implications are enormous. That is why it is critical first and foremost, to work on finding an enduring political solution. Researcher and commentator Wei Da takes a closer look at the issue.
This handout picture taken on 15 July 2020 and released by Taiwan's Defense Ministry shows a warship launching a US-made Harpoon missile during the annual Han Kuang military drill from an unlocated place in the sea near Taiwan. (Handout/Taiwan Defense Ministry/AFP)

The median line of the Taiwan Strait: No longer a boundary for mainland China

Both Taiwan and mainland China have indicated that they would not fire the first shot and would only do so if provoked. Yet signs are increasing that both sides could be stumbling into war. Most recently, the PLA sent its jets over the median line of the Taiwan Strait over three days. Seth Cropsey, director of the Center for American Seapower at Hudson Institute, even offered a date for mainland China to strike. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan takes a closer look at this quagmire.
Two domestically-made armoured vehicles launch smoke grenades during the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taichung on 16 July 2020. - The military drills aimed to test how the armed forces would repel an invasion from China, which has vowed to bring Taiwan back into the fold — by force if necessary. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Chinese academic: A ‘reunification by force’ would be Taiwan's last

Chinese academic Shen Jinhao says that when it comes to Taiwan, the mainland will not start a fight it is not ready to finish. If it launches a “reunification by force”, Taiwan would be subdued in one fell swoop, even before the US has a chance to make a meaningful intervention.
Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Marine Corps are seen in training in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, China, 20 July 2017. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

Chinese academic: Why the PLA conducts simultaneous exercises across different territorial waters

The PLA must guard against the US trying to keep it busy by creating several battlegrounds at the same time, says military affairs commentator Song Zhongping. To be best prepared, the PLA should view the threats from the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea in toto and plan accordingly. This will help them to have more options at their disposal and to de-escalate conflicts as they arise.
Protesters burn China-made goods at a demonstration requesting consumers to boycott Chinese goods organised by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) at Karol Bagh market in New Delhi, India, on 22 June 2020. (T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Could fallout from China-India standoff hurt China's global ambitions?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deleted his account on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo as tensions between India and China continue to simmer over a border conflict. While the skirmish could be seen as the latest chapter in a long-running bilateral tussle, political commentator Zheng Hao suggests that the fallout from China-India conflict is enmeshed in a web of implications in the multilateral arena of global relations and cooperation. He examines the issue and concludes that the damage to China will be greater in this case.
In this file photo US President Donald Trump (C) is applauded by former President Barack Obama (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden during Trump's inauguration ceremonies at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 20 January 2017. (Paul J. Richards/AFP)

Trump or Biden, America's distrust of the Chinese Communist Party will stay 

A new report by the White House has cast China as an ideological threat to cherished liberties and the American way of life. This is a bipartisan approach that will endure even if President Donald Trump loses his bid for a second term.