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Category: Asia and the Pacific

July 28, 2020

Beyond Borders: PLA Command and Control of Overseas Operations

China’s latest round of military reforms is driven primarily by Xi Jinping’s ambition to reshape the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to improve its ability to win informationized wars and to ensure that it remains loyal to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The reforms are unprecedented in their ambition and in the scale and scope of the organizational changes.

July 20, 2020

China's 'New-Type' Private Think Tanks: Is 'New' Better?

China’s public policy research community has long been dominated by large state-run research institutes, but in recent years financially and bureaucratically independent think tanks have played a more prominent role. While private think tanks have used a variety of strategies to secure funding and access to officials, a major constraint is the

June 29, 2020

NDU Korea Futures 2025 Symposium

National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies has now released a public report from its February 2020 “Korea Futures 2025” symposium. The objective was to explore the implications and consequences of differing Korean futures for the United States and the countries of Northeast Asia. The report summarizes the discussions and presents key findings.

June 23, 2020

An Affordable Defense of Asia

US military advantages over China are steadily eroding…For the last two decades, China has studied the US military, identified its key weaknesses, and developed the tactics and forces best suited to exploit those vulnerabilities. These challenges are compounded by significant deficiencies in today’s US joint force across all domains of

June 10, 2020

China’s Inopportune Pandemic Assertiveness

For a state just beginning to recover from Covid-19, China has been remarkably active in pressing its sovereignty claims. Chinese forces have been involved in a spate of incidents around its borders, most recently a series of tense encounters with India. Foreign media have seized on this as another example of Chinese opportunism, in which Beijing

April 23, 2020

Today the Spratlys and Paracels, Tomorrow…

Our alliances and regional strategic partnerships must be the foundation of a concerted effort, led by the United States, to push back against China’s on-going efforts to unilaterally change the status quo and incrementally chip away at the existing international order. 

Jan. 22, 2020

The PLA Beyond Asia: China’s Growing Military Presence in the Red Sea Region

China’s establishment of a military base in Djibouti in 2017 was an important “first” for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which had never operated a base on foreign territory. It was also a milestone in a gradually expanding PLA presence in the Red Sea region. Over the previous decade, China deployed peacekeepers to conflicts in the oil-producing states of Sudan and South Sudan, conducted anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and increased its military diplomacy throughout the area. By the time the Djibouti base opened, the PLA was already maintaining a presence of more than 2,000 personnel in the region—far more than in any other area outside the Indo-Pacific. While PLA capabilities have remained largely concentrated in Asia, its Red Sea presence showcased an increasing ability to project power to other regions and suggested that additional deployments may occur as China seeks to defend its overseas interests. The PLA role in the region has also entered the Chinese popular imagination: the navy’s evacuation of Chinese and foreign citizens from Yemen in 2015 was the basis of Operation Red Sea, one of China’s top grossing films of 2018.

July 17, 2019

The Enduring Relevance of the U.S.-Japan Alliance

For over six decades, the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan and the U.S. forward-deployed military presence in Japan have served as the foundation of stability, prosperity, and security in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. It is the basis of the U.S. Asia-Pacific strategy and is a central pillar of its global strategy. The ability to project power halfway around the world from Japan was critical to the allies’ success in the 1991 Persian Gulf War—the USS Independence was then homeported in Japan. The deployment of the Kitty Hawk from Japan to the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom underscored the global significance of the U.S. presence in Japan and the U.S.-Japan alliance.

April 16, 2019

China's Other Army: The People's Armed Police in an Era of Reform

China’s premier paramilitary force—the People’s Armed Police (PAP)—is undergoing its most profound restructuring since its establishment in 1982. Politically, the reforms reaffirm Chinese Communist Party (and Xi Jinping’s) control over the PAP and may reduce the scope for local abuse of power. Operationally, the reforms narrow the PAP’s responsibilities to three key areas: domestic stability, wartime support, and maritime rights protection. PAP activities beyond China’s borders are likely to increase and could have implications for the United States and other Indo-Pacific states.

Nov. 16, 2018

Aspiration vs. Reality: Where are We with the North Korea Denuclearization Process?

Despite President Trump's claim to have "largely solved" the North Korea problem, the President's ambition is now meeting reality as Secretary Pompeo and his North Korean counterparts attempt to fill in the blanks of what President Trump and Kim Jong Un thought they had agreed to at the Singapore Summit. At the same time, progress in President Moon's efforts to engage North Korea is fast outpacing progress in U.S.-North Korea negotiations on denuclearization. This trend is likely to continue and strain U.S.-ROK relations. The policy challenge facing the Trump administration is formidable and will test the President's diplomatic skills.