BY MONTE R. BULLARD | IN-DEPTH PIECE
In general, experts tend to perceive that a rising China poses a threat to international peace and security. Some experts state the threat comes from expansionism, while others assert the threat comes from China’s easy lending to developing nations around the world, which, now, because of China’s loan policies, face potential debt crises. According to many experts, both threats pose an imminent threat to U.S. national interests. In this article, we examine the Chinese threat of expansionism, which is perceived as one of China’s strategies to attain its ultimate foreign policy goals of taking over the world. However, we disavow the mainstream narrative that Chinese expansionism poses a threat to international peace and stability. We contend that the experts’ focus on Chinese expansionism as a threat to peace and security in neighboring areas such as the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, as well as farther afield, is a red herring, because China’s overall strategy is not territorial expansion. In this series, we aim to refute these types of China threat theories in order to identify more likely Chinese international aspirations that pose a challenge to the current U.S.-led world order. China’s strategy, in fact, can be found in the advancement of legal, cultural, political, and, in particular, economic relationships, that drive China’s foreign policy goals and are clearly inimical to some U.S. national interests. These different aspirations will be examined in future blogs while this article focuses on expansion threat theory.
BY EDWARD J. BARSS | IN-DEPTH PIECE
The continued passage of Chinese warships into Japan’s contiguous zone off the coast of the Diaoyu/Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands provide a sharp reminder of the risks of escalation over disputes in the East China Sea. The incident highlights the failure of China and Japan to include the area around the Islands as part of their East China Sea crisis communication mechanism. The Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan, and Japan but are administered only by Japan. The inability of Japan and China to manage the dispute creates a situation where a military or political incident could easily escalate into crisis. Authoritative actors on all sides of the dispute share this view. Similarly, Japan’s Ministry of Defense views China’s actions as unilaterally escalating the situation in the East China Sea through force, creating serious concerns. While US commentators see the situation as perilous and view Chinese actions in the South China Sea as a precursor for the East China Sea. These views further suggest that a military or political incident involving the Pinnacle Islands is a matter of when, not if. The risk then for a crisis over the Islands is high in long term, as the dispute is being mismanaged due to an inability to legalize the dispute resolution process, the high number of naval/air patrols, poor bargaining tactics, and a widening of the dispute parameters. Further, there is a serious risk that negative public opinion in Japan and China and heavy handed tactics are moving the dispute from one that can be resolved through negotiation to a dispute that is perceived as winnable through force. This article intends to show that: 1) the risk of a new diplomatic or military incident over the Islands is high, 2) that the consequence of such an incident is likely further retrenchment and antagonism, and 3) that such antagonism is a precursor for actual conflict and greater escalation rather than returning to the current status quo.
ADAM NI, BATES GILL | OUTSIDE PUBLICATION
The article examines the creation of China's new missile force, the PLA Rocket Force (PLARF), which was part of a major reform aiming to improve the PLA's joint operations, command and control, as well as combat effectiveness. It specifically analyzes the rationale for the PLARF's creation, its mission, and the challenges faced by it such as acquiring more advanced missile technologies. Indeed, China's expanding missile capabilities give the military more options in planning for regional scenarios involving Taiwan, the East and South China Seas, and the Korean Peninsula.