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  • Author: Andrew Chubb
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: This volume examines the role of popular nationalism in China’s maritime conduct. Analysis of nine case studies of assertive but ostensibly nonmilitary actions by which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has advanced its position in the South and East China Seas in recent years reveals little compelling evidence of popular sentiment driving decision-making. While some regard for public opinion demonstrably shapes Beijing’s propaganda strategies on maritime issues, and sometimes its diplomatic practices as well, the imperative for Chinese leaders to satisfy popular nationalism is at most a contributing factor to policy choices they undertake largely on the basis of other considerations of power and interest. Where surges of popular nationalism have been evident, they have tended to follow after the PRC maritime actions in question, suggesting instead that Chinese authorities channeled public opinion to support existing policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nationalism, Public Opinion, Military Affairs, Navy, Maritime, Oceans and Seas
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Peter A. Dutton, Isaac B. Kardon, Conor M. Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: This China Maritime Report on Djibouti is the first in a series of case studies on China’s “overseas strategic strongpoints” (海外战略支点). The strategic strongpoint concept has no formal definition, but is used by People’s Republic of China (PRC) officials and analysts to describe foreign ports with special strategic and economic value that host terminals and commercial zones operated by Chinese firms.
  • Topic: Economics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Port, People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Djibouti, East Africa
  • Author: Daniel Caldwell, Joseph Freda, Lyle J. Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: China’s naval modernization, a process that has been underway in earnest for three decades, is now hitting its stride. The advent of the Type 055 cruiser firmly places the PLAN among the world’s very top naval services. This study, which draws upon a unique set of Chinese-language writings, offers the first comprehensive look at this new, large surface combatant. It reveals a ship that has a stealthy design, along with a potent and seemingly well-integrated sensor suite. With 112 VLS cells, moreover, China’s new cruiser represents a large magazine capacity increase over legacy surface combatants. Its lethality might also be augmented as new, cutting edge weaponry could later be added to the accommodating design. This vessel, therefore, provides very substantial naval capability to escort Chinese carrier groups, protect Beijing’s long sea lanes, and take Chinese naval diplomacy to an entirely new and daunting level. Even more significant perhaps, the Type 055 will markedly expand the range and firepower of the PLAN and this could substantially impact myriad potential conflict scenarios, from the Indian Ocean to the Korean Peninsula and many in between. This study of Type 055 development, moreover, does yield evidence that Chinese naval strategists are acutely aware of major dilemmas confronting the U.S. Navy surface fleet.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Conor M. Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has ambitious goals for its power projection capabilities. Aside from preparing for the possibility of using force to resolve Beijing’s territorial claims in East Asia, it is also charged with protecting China’s expanding “overseas interests.” These national objectives require the PLA to be able to project significant combat power beyond China’s borders. To meet these needs, the PLA is building organic logistics support capabilities such as large naval auxiliaries and transport aircraft. But it is also turning to civilian enterprises to supply its transportation needs.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Seapower, Transportation, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ryan D. Martinson, Peter A. Dutton
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: Today, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is investing in marine scientific research on a massive scale. This investment supports an oceanographic research agenda that is increasingly global in scope. One key indicator of this trend is the expanding operations of China’s oceanographic research fleet. On any given day, 5-10 Chinese “scientific research vessels” (科学考查船) may be found operating beyond Chinese jurisdictional waters, in strategically-important areas of the Indo-Pacific. Overshadowed by the dramatic growth in China’s naval footprint, their presence largely goes unnoticed. Yet the activities of these ships and the scientists and engineers they embark have major implications for U.S. national security. This report explores some of these implications. It seeks to answer basic questions about the out-of-area—or “distant-ocean” (远洋)—operations of China’s oceanographic research fleet. Who is organizing and conducting these operations? Where are they taking place? What do they entail? What are the national drivers animating investment in these activities?
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: On April 10, 2012, two Chinese law-enforcement cutters on joint patrol in the South China Sea received orders to proceed immediately to Scarborough Shoal, a disputed cluster of rocks 140 nautical miles west of Subic Bay, the Philippines. Earlier that day, a Chinese fisherman aboard one of several boats moored in the lagoon had transmitted an alarming message to authorities in his home port in Hainan: “Philippine Navy ship number 15 heading this way.” Ship number 15 was BRP Gregorio del Pilar, an elderly former U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutter now serving as a frigate in the Philippine navy. Not long after the first message arrived in Hainan, sailors operating from the ship entered the lagoon and approached the Chinese boats. At this point, the fisherman sent a final message: “They’re boarding.”
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Port
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: China’s expansion in maritime East Asia has relied heavily on non-naval elements of sea power, above all white-hulled constabulary forces. This reflects a strategic decision. Coast guard vessels operating on the basis of routine administration and backed up by a powerful military can achieve many of China’s objectives without risking an armed clash, sullying China’s reputation, or provoking military intervention from outside powers. Among China’s many maritime agencies, two organizations particularly fit this bill: China Marine Surveillance (CMS) and China Fisheries Law Enforcement (FLE). With fleets comprising unarmed or lightly armed cutters crewed by civilian administrators, CMS and FLE could vigorously pursue China’s maritime claims while largely avoiding the costs and dangers associated with classic “gunboat diplomacy.”
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Conor M. Kennedy, Andrew S. Erickson
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: Amid growing awareness that China’s Maritime Militia acts as a Third Sea Force which has been involved in international sea incidents, it is necessary for decision-makers who may face such contingencies to understand the Maritime Militia’s role in China’s armed forces. Chinese-language open sources reveal a tremendous amount about Maritime Militia activities, both in coordination with and independent of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Using well-documented evidence from the authors’ extensive open source research, this report seeks to clarify the Maritime Militia’s exact identity, organization, and connection to the PLA as a reserve force that plays a parallel and supporting role to the PLA. Despite being a separate component of China’s People’s Armed Forces (PAF), the militia are organized and commanded directly by the PLA’s local military commands. The militia’s status as a separate non-PLA force whose units act as “helpers of the PLA” (解放军的 助手) is further reflected in China’s practice of carrying out “joint military, law enforcement, and civilian [Navy-Maritime Law Enforcement-Maritime Militia] defense” (军警民联防). To more accurately capture the identity of the Maritime Militia, the authors propose referring to these irregular forces as the “People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia” (PAFMM).
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Dutton, Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: The missile fast-attack craft and amphibious fleets of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy (PLAN) have undergone significant modernization over the past fifteen years. The capabilities of both categories of vessels have improved even if their actual numbers have not increased dramatically. Examined from the perspective of PLA doctrine and training, the missions of these forces represent the PLAN's past, present, and future.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Dutton, Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: This volume is the product of a groundbreaking dialogue on sea-lane security held between People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and U.S. Navy scholars at the Naval War College in August 2013, with additional material from a related conference,"China's Far Seas Operations," hosted by the China Maritime Studies Institute in May 2012. At that time the political climate in China was uncertain, in the shadow of the Bo Xilai crisis and of the impending transition of power between the Hu and Xi regimes; accordingly the PLA Navy, though invited to participate in the "Far Seas" conference, ultimately declined to do so. This was not entirely surprising. Attempts by various agencies of the U.S. Navy up to that time to engage in discussions to advance maritime cooperation between China and the United States had been met with lukewarm responses at best. But at a maritime security dialogue in Dalian in September 2012 Senior Capt. Zhang Junshe of the PLA Navy Research Institute, a key contributor to this volume and to the success of the academic cooperation between our two institutes, approached Peter Dutton to tell him that everything had changed.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Kenneth Allen, Morgan Clemens
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: Looking back at the parlous state of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the early 1980s, Liu Huaqing, its former commander, wrote, "All areas [of the navy] required significant strengthening, but I believed the key was developing capable personnel." Indeed, during Admiral Liu's tenure (1982-88), the PLAN embarked on a major effort to improve the quality of its officers and enlisted personnel an effort that continues to this day.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew S. Erickson, Ryan D. Martinson, Peter A. Dutton
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: The capstone U.S. Defense Department study on the future operational environment declares, "China's rise represents the most significant single event on the international horizon since the collapse of the Cold War. Understanding and assessing changes in China's traditionally defensive naval strategy, doctrine, and force structure are of obvious importance to the U.S. Navy (USN) and other Pacific navies concerned with the possible security implications of that rise. This chapter examines the development of the Chinese navy's Houbei (Type 022) fast-attack-craft force and its roles and missions in China's near seas and discusses implications for the U.S. Navy and other navies in the region.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew S. Erickson, Austin M. Strange
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: The twenty-sixth of December 2012 marked an important date in Chinese military history—the fourth anniversary of China's furthest and most extensive naval operations to date, the ongoing antipiracy deployments in the Gulf of Aden. In the first-ever simultaneous three-fleet public display, China's North Sea Fleet, East Sea Fleet, and South Sea Fleet all held "open day activities." The guided-missile destroyers Qingdao, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen and guided-missile frigate Zhoushan, together with their associated helicopters and personnel, were visited by more than eight thousand people "from all sectors of the society" at the port cities after which they are named.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia