UPDATED: US Flies B-52 Bombers Through Chinese Zone; Japanese & South Koreans Follow; VP Biden To Ask Beijing For “Clarity” On Their Intentions China escalated tensions with Japan literally sky-high last weekend. After years of shadowboxing at sea around the Senkaku Islands, China’s Ministry of Defense announced a new “Air Defense Identification Zone” with authority… Keep reading →
US, Japan Korea Defy New China Air Defense Zone, Biden To Rebuke Beijing; PRC Move Drives Korea, Japan TogetherBy Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
UPDATED: Latest Theory Is The Helo Is From Chinese Museum. No Proof. A photo of a helicopter that looks quite a bit like an American Apache AH-64 attack helicopter on a truck has surfaced in China. The experts agree on one thing: they aren’t sure what the aircraft is or what it portends. What do… Keep reading →
At 1:30 am this morning – 7:30 pm yesterday Hawaiian time — the Navy’s newest missile defense system marked its second successful shootdown in a month. Under what Lockheed Martin called an “operationally realistic scenario” – more on that in a moment – the USS Lake Erie picked up the target with its Aegis Ballistic Missile… Keep reading →
Sun Tzu said: Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted. WASHINGTON: Because China believes it is much weaker than the United States, they are more likely to launch… Keep reading →
[Corrected description of Navy test sequence] Unmanned aircraft are relatively easy to fly. Landing one without crashing is hard. Getting one to take off from the narrow, pitching deck of an aircraft carrier is harder still. Landing on a carrier? That’s hard enough to give human pilots nervous breakdowns. Soon, it will be the final… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Even the grim, dark and powerful Soviet Union came to share fairly detailed information about the size and potency of its military to ensure nobody made a wrong step by over- or underestimating its military prowess. The current rising power, China, so far, has largely refused to share much information about either how its forces are organized or what weapons it fields.
So when official Chinese media were joined by Western media in reporting that the Peoples Liberation Army had issued a White Paper, “Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces,” offering greater transparency, I checked with a range of experts on the PLA to see if that was, in fact, the case.“There is really nothing that stands out as a remarkably new emphasis or form of ‘transparency.’ The identification of all PLA Army units as mobile forces with their military region affiliation is a better explanation of order of battle,” said Larry Wortzel, one of Washington’s most respected China military analysts and also a member of the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, in an email.
For contrast, here’s what the Peoples Liberation Daily says about the White Paper:
“…China’s military is transforming from ‘responding to questions’ to ‘explaining proactively’, which shows the country is more transparent and willing to take on responsibilities. The national defense white paper shows Chinese army’s transparency and openness. Along with the accelerating pace of going out, Chinese army has taken the initiative to show its image to the world. It is obvious to see the country’s sincerity and hard working in military transparent.”
OK. And Dean Cheng, China analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation (where Wortzel used to work), offered the Chinese a tiny nod.
“To give the Chinese credit, I don’t think we’ve ever had a nice, neat summary by them of which units (or at least their designations) are in the Nanjing or Lanzhou Military Region. It’s a (baby) step towards transparency. It’s also at an extremely meta-level: armies, fleets,” Cheng says in his email.
But the real problem both the Chinese and Western countries face is that, as the Chinese paper said: “Western countries have suspected Chinese army for a long time, guessing whether Chinese army is defensive or offensive.”
The Chinese says simply that this latest paper, “has answered the suspicion directly. ‘China will never seek hegemony or behave in a hegemonic manner, nor will it engage in military expansion,’ the white paper says.”
As is clear from Wortzel and Cheng’s observations, that may not entirely be the case.
Cheng also detailed how this paper differs from earlier Chinese offerings:
- “Space and cyber are only mentioned twice (as far as I can tell), both in passing. However, some mention of informationization (which is broader than cyber). Information dominance (specifically mentioned) would include counter-space and cyber activities.
- “Military support to national development is now listed AFTER protecting territorial sovereignty. This is a shift from the previous order when discussing ‘new historic missions” of the PLA.
- “Heavy emphasis (or at least prominent reference) to maritime security, including securing SLOCs (Sea Lines of Communication), defense of territorial waters, etc.”
“‘Some countries are strengthening their Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanding military presence in the region, and frequently making the situation there tenser,’ the 40-page report on the ‘Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces’ said, without naming any particular state,” the People’s Liberation Daily says. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Relations between China and Japan continue to worsen as a Hong Kong Chinese group promised major protests in September. And two of America’s top Peoples Liberation Army analysts tell us things may well get worse, given the long-simmering enmities between the two countries and the “toxic brew” of the region’s unresolved territorial claims and misunderstandings.
Larry Wortzel, longtime member of the U.S-China Economic and Security Commission, and Dean Cheng, analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said in an exchange of emails over the last two days that the situation bears close watching. Keep reading →