Hot war

The Ground Force under the Eastern Theatre Command of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducts a long-range live-fire drill into the Taiwan Strait, from an undisclosed location in this handout released on 4 August 2022. (Eastern Theatre Command/Handout via Reuters)

Implications of the Russia-Ukraine war for the People’s Liberation Army

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is closely watching the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, with the Russian army continuing to meet stubborn resistance from the Ukrainian forces. Japanese academic Sugiura Yasuyuki examines how the PLA is learning from the crisis and reevaluating its military doctrine in the case of Taiwan, especially following the recent visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Burnt cars are pictured through the glass of a damaged car in Saltivka neighbourhood, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, 10 May 2022. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Russia-Ukraine war has triggered another split in China-US relations

Economics professor Zhu Ying observes that since US-China relations reached their high point after former President Trump's visit to Beijing in 2017, China-US relations have seen three splits, each driven by the trade war, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine respectively. Amid tense relations and set identities that have been formed, one can only hope that the US and China do not stumble into a hot war.
A boy stands next to a wrecked vehicle in front of an apartment building damaged during the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, 24 April 2022. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Neither will submit: Why the Russia-Ukraine war will be the cruellest since World War II

As much as the world wants an end to the Russia-Ukraine war, Chinese professor Zhu Ying notes that in the current situation, given Russian nationalism and Ukrainian grit, it is very unlikely that peace terms can be negotiated at this point. Russian President Vladimir Putin has a point to prove, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also determined not to give in.
A colour illustration on 8 April 1884 shows the Battle of Fuzhou, with a shower of gunfire from French vessels and the Fujian Fleet either sinking or damaged.

[Picture story] The Sino-French War of 1884 and the collapse of Western colonialism

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao notes that the Sino-French War showed the weaknesses of Western colonial powers, particularly France. This ultimately led to the end of colonialism following World War II.
A man holds the US and China flags in a Lunar New Year ceremony in Chinatown on 12 February 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

'Cold peace' in China-US relations: Who will get the last laugh?

US-based researcher Wei Da notes that China-US relations are at risk of stagnating and reaching a state of "cold peace" with the current development. While China has been making friendly overtures to the US, it is also signalling that the ball is in the US’s court. Would any side give space to the other? Who will benefit from such a situation?
The cheers from the civilian Russians show that to Russia, there was no doubt of victory in the war. They called the Japanese “yellow monkeys”, and believed that Japan was too weak to dare to attack. They thought the Russian army had the absolute advantage and winning was just a matter of time.

[Photo story] Russo-Japanese War: A war fought on Chinese soil and its hard lessons

The Russo-Japanese War was in fact not fought in either Russia or Japan, but in China. It was the culmination of a fierce rivalry between a Eurasian power and an Asian country that showed it could hold its own against a much bigger opponent. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao takes us through a painful period in history that saw many Chinese lives taken.
A wheat field in Chishang Township, Taitung County. (Facebook/蔣勳)

Taiwanese art historian: My mother waited for her soldier husband to return from war, just like Wang Baochuan

In today’s era, we get instant gratification through a swipe of the phone or a flick of the switch. Could we have done what Tang dynasty wife Wang Baochuan did and waited 18 long years — without phone, wifi or video apps — for her husband Xue Pinggui to return home? Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun knows his army wife mother could. It was she who taught him about “Baochuan vegetables”: the stubborn weed of Taiwanese purslane that won’t be stamped out; the pure love that asks for neither company nor reward.
This photo taken on 21 October 2020 shows a mural painted on a wall on Taiwan's Kinmen Island. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

China-US relations: ‘Strategic clarity’ on Taiwan may lead to hot war

The three communiques in US-China relations gave both the US and China a certain cloak of strategic ambiguity, but with senior members of the US government appearing to go against the tenets and China stubbornly holding the US to its clauses, what is left seems to be stark, opposing positions that make drifting into hot war all the more likely.
Members of the PLA Honour Guard attend a flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square on National Day to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China, in Beijing, China, 1 October 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

50 years later, is China ‘preparing for war’ again?

In China’s just-released "14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035", the centennial goal of modernising the PLA by the latter’s 100th anniversary in 2027 was set out. In the face of headwinds caused by turbulent US-China relations, does this spell China’s hardened mindset of getting prepared for war? What impact will such defensive thinking have on China and the world in the next 15 years?