Posts Tagged ‘China’s navy’

Are China and Russia challenging US military dominance?

February 14, 2018

China is strengthening its military might, while Russia is asserting its foreign policy influence. IISS expert Bastian Giegerich talks to DW about changing US global dominance and the threat of a “great-power war.”

China J-20 fighter jet (Reuters/China Daily)

DW: You note in the IISS 2018 Military Balance report that China has been investing heavily in its air force. Is Beijing now on par with Washington in terms of air dominance?

Bastian Giegerich: China is not yet on par with the United States but it’s catching up. And in some selected areas, our assessment is indeed that China is doing more than just catching up. There are a couple of examples to illustrate that: For instance, we assess that China will add an extended-range air-to-air missile to its inventory this year, and we expect its stealth fighter jet, the J-20, to enter front-line service by 2020. And those are indeed advanced capabilities that challenge air superiority for the United States: At the very least, they will have the effect that the air domain will become a very contested domain again. Operational assumptions over the past two decades for the US, and I would say Western militaries in general, have been that the West and the US own the air domain and can operate in it with great freedom. I think those days now are over.

Your report also notes that China is investing heavily in its navy. What’s the goal in that? 

In the last four years, China has built vessels with a total tonnage that is greater than the total tonnage of the French Navy and is roughly equivalent to the total tonnage of the British Royal Navy. So, clearly the goal for China here is to further develop its blue-water capabilities. In other words, the ability to project force at extended range across the seas.

And the other element which is important to this is that China has opened its first overseas base in Djibouti, which will enable more naval deployments because it will be a base that will help to sustain deployed vessels over time and thereby further contribute to China’s ability to expand power across the oceans.

In Russia, the story seems to be very different. Is Moscow having difficulties when it comes to modernizing its military forces?

Russia has felt that economic difficulties … pose limits to its ability to fund its ambitious defense modernization program. So, in our assessment, that defense modernization program has slowed down a little bit.

The important difference is, however, not just in terms of the ability to spend but the ability to operate and practice. Unlike China, Russia has used, and continues to use, its armed forces in conflicts — in Syria and also with a view to eastern Ukraine. So Russia has gathered a lot of experience using new equipment, using new technologies, putting its personnel through different rotations on operations. It has an advantage there. And China has not yet done that.

Bastian Giegerich International Institute for Strategic Studies (James Clements)

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Giegerich and his team compiled the 2018 Military Balance report

Under President Donald Trump the US has been urging its European allies to invest more in the military. And this year’s report notes a dramatic increase in European military spending 2017. Do you think this is due to the pressure from Washington?

I think more than anything else it is driven by a recognition in Europe that the world is a dangerous place, that threat perceptions have changed. I would say that is mostly driven by Russia’s more assertive foreign policy behavior, and of course the conflict in Ukraine. American pressure has certainly played a role as well, but it would be wrong to say the spending increases in Europe are a Trump effect — they actually started before Trump took office.

The gloomiest part of your analysis might be the possibility of a great-power conflict. China, Russia and the US are modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Are we returning to the beginning of the 1980s?

I don’t think that’s quite accurate. But I think what we are seeing is a situation where the possibility of a great-power conflict is now probably higher than it was at any point in the past 20 years. That does not mean that a great-power conflict or a great-power military conflict is inevitable … but it is more likely. And part of it is a result of Russia and China challenging the global predominance of the United States and systematically preparing for the possibility of conflict. Nuclear weapons of course are the ultimate deterrence, so to speak. And we’ve looked at the nuclear modernization programs of the three big powers — China, Russia and the US — and all of them are in the process of modernizing their nuclear forces.

Bastian Giegerich is the director of defense and military analysis at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). He leads the team that publishes the annual Military Balance report.

http://www.dw.com/en/are-china-and-russia-challenging-us-military-dominance/a-42586553

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China’s military fires up world first in revolutionary rail gun technology

February 6, 2018

Photographs surface of ship-mounted electromagnetic weapon that could one day supersede traditional explosives with greater power, speed, range and accuracy

By Minnie Chan
South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 9:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 11:54pm

China is believed to be testing the world’s first ship-mounted rail gun, a technology that military experts say has the potential to fire shells with enough force to destroy a warship and precision to shoot down a satellite.

The controversial development comes as China seeks to transform its navy into a blue-water force capable of rivalling the United States and projecting power far from home shores.

Photographs of a rail gun mounted on a warship docked in Wuhan, Hubei province, have surfaced on Chinese military websites in the last week, indicating the People’s Liberation Army Navy is testing the electromagnetic weapon and has been able to make it more compact.

Rail guns fire shells using electromagnetic force rather than traditional explosive propulsion systems. They are designed to fire the projectiles with more accuracy and power and over a longer range, but are also extremely expensive.

 A PLA warship in Wuhan appears to be the first in the world fitted with a rail gun. Photo: Handout

The US has researched and tested rail guns for years, with prototypes firing projectiles at up to 7,800km/hour over a 150km range. The cost of the projectiles was reportedly US$1 million per round.

But the Chinese device appears to be the first mounted on a ship.

The rail gun uses electromagnetic technology known as IEPS that state media confirmed last year would power China’s first home-grown aircraft carrier.

The system was developed by a team headed by decorated PLA naval engineer Rear Admiral Ma Weiming, who told state broadcaster CCTV in July that his ultimate goal was to install weapons such as rail guns on the carrier.

China’s state-run Science and Technology Daily reported on Monday that the cutting-edge technology would be deployed on the Type-055, the country’s biggest guided-missile destroyer designed as part of future aircraft carrier battle groups.

But sources close to Chinese military told the South China Morning Post that the destroyer’s propulsion system and internal design were not suited for the rail gun.

The gun in the photographs was installed on a Type-072 landing ship refitted to house the bulky electrical equipment.

Song Zhongping, military commentator and former member of the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps, said future generations of the destroyer could be fitted with the weapon down the track.

Song said China was closing the gap with the US and it was possible that China could eventually abandon explosives in favour of electromagnetic systems.

“China has spared no effort to catch up the US’ electromagnetic technology, to turn the new technology into an all-purpose propulsion system for wide use in ship-mounted weapons and maglev trains and even to replace rockets to launch satellites into the space,” he said.

“The leaked photos show China is now not only catching up to the US in ship-borne rail gun technology, but may surpass the US in next five to 10 years. This is because the US needs more time to approve budgets while China’s political system allows it to put more funding into special projects.”

The US Naval Institute reported last month that the US Navy scrapped plans in 2016 to buy 2,000 rail gun projectiles but would continue to monitor new technologies that could be incorporated into its existing systems.

 Rear Admiral Ma Weiming has spearheaded developments in electromagnetic propulsion. Photo: Minnie Chan

Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said the purchase stalled because of the expensive technology’s low return on investment.

“The US is hesitating because the cost of the new weapon’s development is huge, while its practicability is debatable,” Zhou said.

“Proponents argue that [rail guns] can hit targets several thousand kilometres away guided by the space-based Global Positioning System. But [the US] air force can hit long-range targets easily by dropping cruise missiles from their stealth bombers or fighters, something that is much more cost-effective.”

Military insiders said the high cost of and Ma’s involvement in the Chinese rail gun project also made it contentious.

“The decision to develop the costly electromagnetic rail gun also provoked debate because so far only Ma and his team are the only electromagnetic experts developing it,” one insider said.

“But Ma’s team has the backing of the leadership and that is also the reason why the electromagnetic technology has been developed so fast in China.”

Last year Chinese President Xi Jinping awarded Ma, 57, the country’s highest military honour, the Order of August 1.

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US dropped ball on Navy railgun development—now China is picking it up

February 4, 2018
Analysis of photos show a railgun system being installed on a Chinese amphibious ship.

Photos posted by a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) observer show what appears to be an electromagnetic railgun being affixed to a PLAN tank landing ship, the Haiyang Shan. The LST is being used to test the weapon because its tank deck can accommodate the containers for the gun’s control system and power supply, according to comments from a former PLAN officer translated by “Dafeng Cao,” the Twitter handle of the anonymous analyst.

For nearly a decade, the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) and various contractors worked to develop a railgun system for US ships. A prototype weapon was built by BAE Systems. Testing at the US Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia was deemed so successful that the Navy was planning to conduct more testing of the gun at sea aboard a Spearhead-class Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).  The program promised to deliver a gun that could fire projectiles at speeds over Mach 7 with a range exceeding 100 miles. The 23-pound hypervelocity projectile designed for the railgun flying at Mach 7 has 32 megajoules of energy—roughly equivalent to the energy required to accelerate an object weighing 1,000 kilograms (1.1 US tons) to 252 meters per second (566 miles an hour).

But the program has been largely shelved because of the Department of Defense’s ongoing budget problems and the loss of interest at DOD’s Strategic Capabilities Office in funding further development. The continued “sequestration” of the DOD’s budget has forced the Navy and ONR to shift development focus away from the long-term goal of the railgun toward the more short-term goal of using the hypervelocity projectile (HPV) the railgun fires within more conventional US Navy gun systems.

US Navy tests of a prototype railgun at Dahlgren, Virginia.

China has clearly been watching the US program with interest, and the PLAN reportedly began working on its own electromagnetic gun system about five years ago, according to Dafeng Cao’s ex-PLAN officer source. Now the PLAN is preparing to take its tests to sea, making the 20-year old Haiyang Shan the first ship to ever be armed with a railgun.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/02/photos-show-china-preparing-to-test-naval-railgun/

Image result for chinese amphibious ship 936 with rail gun, photos

Narrow US focus handicaps Donald Trump’s policymakers in ‘great power contest’ with China

February 3, 2018

Ankit Panda writes that China’s surging hard power and growing regional influence are leaving the US hard-pressed to match strides with ‘rival’ in Asia

By Ankit Panda
South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 February, 2018, 9:49am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 February, 2018, 10:08am

An unclassified synopsis of the United States’ new national defence strategy, released in January, has the potential to mark an important inflection point in US strategic thinking about defence planning.

The document, which follows the national security strategy document the Trump administration released in the final days of 2017, expresses a strong intent to refocus US strategic attention on interstate competition – specifically, a great power competition with Russia and China.

Its bottom line is that a great power rivalry is back in East Asia. Not that it ever left.

As Chinese military power expands in tandem with Beijing’s regional ambitions and intention to reclaim territory it considers lost, the US needs to think asymmetrically to remain a step ahead of China; especially as the contest for primacy in Asia plays out over the 21st century.

 Despite emphasising the need to innovate to establish a lethal military operation, alliances remain at the heart of US defence strategy, Ankit Panda writes. Pictured: a B-2 Spirit aircraft. Photo: EPA

The national defence strategy, which very much represents the thinking of US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis’, shows why the US needs to think asymmetrically.

For example, instead of setting an agenda for matching China’s ascendant People’s Liberation Army Navy hull-for-hull, the document acknowledges that America’s long-standing asymmetric strategic advantage lies in its long-standing global alliances.

And conceding that today’s global strategic environment is fast-changing, it emphasises the need for the US to innovate technologically in pursuit of a more lethal military. But alliances and partnerships remain the core of its game plan; especially in Asia.

The strategy’s discussion of Asia and the challenges posed by China’s rise into a global powerhouse inherits a lot from the Obama administration’s so-called ‘pivot’ to Asia. But it diverges from the Obama era’s action plan in style more than in substance.

As Washington lurches toward fully and openly embracing a long-simmering great power contest with Beijing, policymakers there should recall that China gets a vote

In addition to openly contending with the challenge of Chinese military modernisation, the document is clear about China’s desire for near-term “Indo-Pacific regional hegemony” and the future “displacement of the United States to achieve global pre-eminence”.

There is strategic vision here. On the one hand, the document shows foresight with its focus on the challenge posed by a rising China beyond the warfighting implications of militarised islands in the South China Sea or Beijing’s considerable investment in advanced technologies.

But it ultimately overstates the threat to the continental US from state and nonstate actors and generalises broadly between the divergent threats posed by Russia and China.

Moreover, on the question of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” region, the prescriptions in the strategy are mostly inchoate.

While the strategy sets out an agenda to expand US alliances and partnerships in the region, much in the same vein as the Obama administration’s push for a “principled security network” in Asia, there’s no particular prescription for what the US will need of its Asian partners in coming years.

What is clear is that in its second year in office, the Trump administration is emphasising a coming period of intensified geopolitical competition with Moscow and Beijing, albeit with a dual-track approach: while the US president himself maintains a positive relationship with his Chinese and Russian counterparts, Washington’s defence and foreign policy machinery works to punish the two countries in various ways.

 Will the competitive agenda outlined in US national security and defence strategy be operationalised despite President Donald Trump? Photo: AP

Indeed, the overarching question ahead for US strategy in Asia and elsewhere will be whether the competitive agenda outlined in the national security strategy and the national defence strategy synopsis will be operationalised despite Trump. During his state-of-the-union speech, for instance, Trump passed over an opportunity to address the question of the great power contest; instead, he chose to focus narrowly on North Korea, terrorism and his long-standing grievances on trade.

As Washington lurches toward fully and openly embracing a long-simmering great power contest with Beijing, policymakers there should recall that China gets a vote. The recent surge in Chinese hard power capabilities combined with Beijing’s geoeconomic efforts to seal in regional influence through the Belt and Road Initiative will leave the Trump administration – and future US administrations – with a tall task.

Ankit Panda is a senior editor at the Diplomat

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2131830/narrow-us-focus-handicaps-donald-trumps-policymakers-great

China’s aircraft carrier conundrum: hi-tech launch system for old, heavy fighter jets

November 20, 2017

PLA Navy’s J-15s, based on a Soviet design more than 30 years old, are world’s heaviest carrier-based fighters

By Minnie Chan
South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 November, 2017, 9:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 November, 2017, 9:07pm

China’s second home-grown aircraft carrier could be a world-class warship if it uses a domestically developed hi-tech launch system, but the hefty fighter jets it would have to launch remain a fly in the ointment for the country’s naval power aspirations.

While Beijing is narrowing the aircraft carrier technology gap with the United States, the country’s carrier programme is still hindered by the capabilities of its carrier-based warplanes.

China spent more than a decade developing its first carrier-based fighter, the J-15, based on a prototype of a fourth-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-33 twin-engined air superiority fighter – a design that is now more than 30 years old.

The J-15, with a maximum take-off weight of 33 tonnes, is the heaviest active carrier-based fighter jet in the world but the sole carrier-based fighter in the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Its weight is one of the key reasons military leaders have pushed for the use of an electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) on China’s third carrier, construction of which is expected to start next year, rather than steam-powered catapults, a military source told the South China Morning Post.

 The PLA Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning arrives in Hong Kong waters in July. Photo: AFP

“The maximum take-off weight of the J-15 fighter is 33 tonnes and experiments found that even the US Navy’s new generation C13-2 steam catapult launch engines, installed on Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, would struggle to launch the aircraft efficiently,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.

The US Navy also relied on a heavy carrier-based fighter in the past, the 33.7 tonne F-14 Tomcat. But they were replaced by the lighter F-18 Super Hornet in 2006 after 32 years of service. The maximum take-off weight of an F-18 Super Hornet is 29.9 tonnes according to the website of manufacturer Boeing.

All carrier-based aircraft need to jettison their munitions and burn off their fuel before landing on a carrier to reduce runway damage and the risk of a fire or explosion. The empty weight of the F-18 is 14.5 tonnes, three tonnes less than the J-15, which means the J-15 causes more damage to a carrier runway when it lands.

“If China insisted on using steam-powered catapults to launch the J-15, it would look like forcing a toddler to run with [Chinese hurdler] Liu Xiang and [Jamaican sprinter] Usain Bolt,” the source said. “That would be so embarrassing!

“EMALS’ experimental results showed the new technology is able to catapult the J-15 fighter more easily and more efficiently. In the short-run, it’s impossible for China to produce lightweight fighters, so why not take the better route and use EMALS directly?”

 J-15 fighter jets on the deck of the PLA Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning during military drills in the Bohai Sea, off China’s northeast coast, in December last year. Photo: AFP

The source said China was confident about its EMALS technology now that it was able to produce its own insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) chips, a key component of the high-efficiency electric energy conversion systems used in variable-speed drives, trains, electric and hybrid electric vehicles, power grids and renewable energy plants.

The technology was developed by China’s first semiconductor manufacturer, Hunan-based Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric, and British subsidiary Dynex Semiconductor after the Chinese company acquired 75 per cent of Dynex’s shares in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

An integrated propulsion system, a technological breakthrough developed by top PLA Navy engineer Rear Admiral Ma Weiming and his team, will enable China’s second home-grown aircraft carrier to use the world’s most advanced launch system for its fighter jets without having to resort to nuclear power.

An aircraft carrier uses a lot of electric power for take-offs and landings and the integrated propulsion system will be able to provide it. Ma has said experimental results showed the system could result in fuel savings of up to 40 per cent for an aircraft carrier.

EMALS, with a higher launch energy capacity, will also be more efficient than steam-powered catapults, allowing for improvements in system maintenance, increased reliability, and more accurate end-speed control and smoother acceleration.

In an interview with China Central Television broadcast on November 3, Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Equipment Research Centre, said China had done “hundreds of [land-based] tests” using EMALS with J-15 fighters in the past few years.

Yin’s comments indicate China might now have mature and reliable EMALS technology. But they also revealed an embarrassing fact: the next generation Chinese aircraft carrier, equipped with a US-style catapult launch system, will still be launching outdated fighter jets.

The US and the former Soviet Union had different combat strategies in mind when they designed their aircraft carriers. For the US Navy, carrier-based fighters were the key weapons of a carrier battle group, while the Soviets opted to add different types of missile launchers and warplanes and relied on an inefficient ski-jump launch ramp.

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and its sister warship, the 001A, which was launched in April, both have runways featuring ski-jump ramps, which limit them to launching one fighter jet at a time. The catapults used on US carries can launch up to four aircraft simultaneously.

“There are limits to China’s J-15 as it was developed based on the Su-33, which was designed for the former Soviet navy’s Kuznetsov-class carrier, the predecessor of the Liaoning,” another source close to the PLA Navy said.

The Liaoning, then an unfinished Kuznetsov-class carrier known as the Varyag, was bought by Hong Kong-based businessman Xu Zengping, a PLA Navy proxy, from a Ukrainian shipyard in 1998.

 China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier is launched at a shipyard in the northeastern port city of Dalian on April 26. Photo: Kyodo

China has been trying to develop a new generation carrier-based fighter, the FC-31, with a maximum take-off weight of 28 tonnes, to replace the J-15, and put J-15 chief designer Sun Cong in charge of the project.

Pictures posted on mainland military websites show that Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the manufacturer of the J-15, has produced two FC-31 prototypes, with one debuting at the Zhuhai air show in 2014.

However, the two military sources said, the development of the FC-31 had not proceeded smoothly and it had failed to meet the PLA Navy’s requirements, with the key obstacle being what one described as “heart disease”.

“China is still incapable of developing an engine for the FC-31 fighter,” the first source said. “The FC-31 has needed to be equipped with Russian RD-93 engines for test flights.”

The second source said the FC-31’s failure to meet the PLA Navy’s basic requirements for a new generation fighter meant “that in the next two decades, the J-15 will still be the key carrier-based fighter on China’s aircraft carriers”.

Above: A U.S. Navy F/A-18 is launched from an aircraft carrier

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2120391/chinas-aircraft-carrier-conundrum-hi-tech-launch-system

China Reforming The World Order — Some friction to be expected in China’s rise as global leader

November 2, 2017

By Goh Sui Noi
China Bureau Chieg
The Straits Times

BEIJING • China’s ambition under President Xi Jinping is clear – to be a global leader by the middle of this century.

In his report last week to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Mr Xi said China aspires to be a “global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence”.

This is part of the Chinese dream of the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” after its century of decline and humiliation from the Opium War of 1840.

The country, Mr Xi said at the 19th five-yearly national congress of the party, is now at a “new historic juncture” in its development. And the new era will be one that “sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind”.

These contributions include, among other things, offering its development model as a “new option” for other countries wanting to speed up their development and taking an “active part” in reforming the international order.

While observers say China’s aspirations are understandable, there are those – both in Asia and the West – who worry about what these mean for the rest of the world.

Western observers are of the view that China intends to replace the US as the dominant power in Asia and reshape the international order to be more in line with its interests.

China’s ambition to serve as a development model and increase its international influence, together with its endeavour to turn its People’s Liberation Army into a first-class military force – as mapped out in Mr Xi’s report – reinforces “the widely held assessment that China harbours a deep-seated desire to displace the United States as the dominant power in Asia”, wrote two analysts with the American think-tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

Photo: A military band practising before the opening session of the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. While observers say China’s aspirations are understandable, there are those who worry about what these mean for the rest of the world. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 

In addition, wrote Ms Bonnie Glaser and Mr Matthew Funaiole, Mr Xi’s highlighting of the building of islands and reefs in the South China Sea as a major achievement of his first term showed China would “prioritise strengthening its control over the contested waterway at the cost of rising friction with its neighbours and the United States”.

Furthermore, during his first term, Mr Xi has sent mixed signals over whether China supported a rules-based international order, taking part in United Nations peacekeeping missions but also rejecting international tribunal findings against its claims to the South China Sea. Mr Xi’s vision for the future, they suggested, may signal an intention to double down on challenging elements of the prevailing world order that Beijing sees as contrary to Chinese interests.

During his first term, Mr Xi has sent mixed signals over whether China supported a rules-based international order, taking part in United Nations peacekeeping missions but also rejecting international tribunal findings against its claims to the South China Sea.

The “overarching vision (Mr Xi) laid out should raise alarm bells in Asian and Western capitals”, they said.

While not disagreeing totally on the issue of the international order, Professor Jia Qingguo, dean of Peking University’s School of International Studies, said China’s promotion of reform of the international order is not about China’s interests alone, but also about making the system more equitable and fair.

He added that China is a beneficiary of the international order and that stability of the system is important to it.

He pointed out that Mr Xi, in his report to the party congress, also stressed that China would safeguard the stability of the order.

He added that the US was the most powerful nation in the world and that it was important for China to handle its relations with the US well. “This is important bilaterally for China, and also for safeguarding the international order.”

As for China’s growing military might, he contended that a strong Chinese military is not a bad thing. “If it is in China’s interest to safeguard this order, then a strong China is a good thing for the international order,” he said.

Prof Jia also pointed out that while China needs to be heard on the world stage because of its growing interests all over the world, the international community is also demanding that it plays a bigger role given its growing influence as a result of its economic might.

“In the past, China could sometimes dodge or keep quiet,” he said. “But now as its status and influence grow, people expect it to say or do something.”

On issues like the North Korean nuclear crisis, “people expect China not just to speak up but also play an important role”, he noted.

The US has been pressing Beijing to do more to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes and the subject is expected to come up when US President Donald Trump visits China next week.

Still, there is also disquiet in the Asian region over China’s intentions as it grows stronger.

Over in India, former Indian ambassador to China Ashok Kanthi wrote that the manner in which the Chinese pursued their dream “has generated widespread anxieties, including in India”. This included “China’s readiness to deploy its economic, military, political and diplomatic clout to advance its interests, defined in increasingly expansive and unilateral terms”.

In Indonesia, an article in The Jakarta Post pointed to Mr Xi’s envisioning of a more modern and powerful military for the new era, saying the Indonesian military needed to continue to reform and modernise too, to respond to the changing strategic environment. It talked about the possibility of confrontation with “a more affluent and powerful China” over “the unresolved territorial dispute over parts of the South China Sea near the Natuna Islands”.

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China H-6 bomber near Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines

It also raised concern over China’s Belt and Road Initiative to help build infrastructure in developing countries, saying that while Indonesia should make the most of the financing and development opportunities presented by the initiative, it also needed to ensure that the law of the land prevailed.

While there are actions by the Chinese that cause concern, particularly in their neighbourhood, Professor Yang Dali of Chicago University warned against getting into a situation where whatever the Chinese do “is necessarily bad”.

He pointed out that Mr Xi was right in saying that some Chinese practices and experiences may be of value to other developing countries which can learn from them, such as China’s development of infrastructure and investment in education.

He noted, too, that in the area of climate change, China has chosen to play a pivotal and global role that has been welcome.

China, he said, has been willing to learn, adapt and react to external criticism, including in the way the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is run. In doing so, China will not only be a global citizen “but also play a leadership role that is valuable for the global community”, he added.

In the East Asian region, China’s problem is possibly that it has risen so fast that it is not ready for the leadership role that it is playing.

It needs to go through a learning period, Prof Jia noted, including accumulating knowledge of international organisations and understanding of the conditions of the region and its history and culture.

Both sides, China and its neighbours, have to adjust to each other, he said.

China was an ordinary power before now, but is becoming less so.

“China needs to adjust its view of things and the way it does things accordingly,” said Prof Jia.

At the same time, countries in the region also need to adjust to China’s rise. While in the past they may be used to a certain way of dealing with their relationship with China, they now have to use other methods.

“During this period of adjustment, there may be contradictions and conflict,” he said.

At the end of the day, he said, China’s desire is to have good relations with its neighbours because this means China will be more secure and have more opportunities for growth.

The same could be said for countries in the region. The question is what kind of relationship is acceptable to both sides – and that needs to be negotiated.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline ‘Friction to be expected in China’s rise as global leader’. Print Edition | Subscribe
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China Navy Ships Depart for Joint Drills With Russia

September 14, 2017

BEIJING — Four Chinese navy ships have departed for joint drills with Russia in the latest sign of growing cooperation between the two militaries that could challenge the U.S. armed forces’ role in the Asia-Pacific.

A destroyer, missile frigate, supply ship and submarine rescue ship departed Wednesday from the port of Qingdao, home to China’s north sea fleet, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The drills are being held in the Sea of Japan near the Korean Peninsula and the Sea of Okhotsk off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, Xinhua said.

The exercises are the second stage of an annual joint drill, the first part of which was held July 22-27 in the Baltic Sea — the first time the countries had exercised together in the northern European waterbody.

Image result for russia, china, navy operating together, photos

Chinese and Russian destroyers take part in a previous joint exercise in 2014 / AP

Russia and China are closely aligned on many diplomatic and security issues, with both countries calling for a negotiated settlement of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, preceded by North Korea suspending its nuclear and missile activities in return for the U.S. and South Korea halting their regular large-scale wargames.

July’s joint drills in the Baltic stirred concern among countries in the region, where tensions are already high over increased displays of military force by both Moscow and NATO.

Both Russia and China say the exercises are not directed at any third parties.

The Chinese ships taking part in the exercises are among the country’s most advanced, components of a growing fleet that poses a significant challenge to the U.S. Navy’s traditional dominance in the Asia-Pacific. Beijing has long chafed at the American presence and is a strong critic of its alliances with Japan, Australia and other countries in the region.

China already has the world’s largest navy, with slightly over 300 vessels, compared to the U.S. Navy’s 277 “deployable battle force ships,” according to the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute. The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence forecasts it will have 313-342 warships by 2020.

While China’s ships are technologically inferior to those of the U.S. Navy, their sheer numbers allow China a significant presence on the open sea, institute professor Andrew S. Erickson wrote in a recent study.

China, Russia Demonstrate Global Military Might

August 1, 2017
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 The huge display of military hardware also featured 12,000 troops. Photo: Xinhua

Taiwan says it’s prepared to defend itself — Reaction to pushy Chinese patrols — Strongly worded response to recent flybys by Chinese warplanes

July 25, 2017

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A Taiwanese Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) (below) monitors a Chinese Xian H-6 bomber near Taiwan’s air defence identification zone July 20, 2017. Picture taken July 20, 2017. Handout via REUTERS

Reuters

JULY 25, 2017 / 2:04 AM

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan is prepared to defend itself against China if necessary, the self-ruled island’s defense ministry said on Tuesday, in a strongly worded response to recent flybys by Chinese warplanes near the island China claims as a wayward province.

China’s military has flown several fighter and reconnaissance aircraft near Taiwan for training exercises in the past few days, according to the ministry.

“The People’s Liberation Army has never given up on the idea of resolving problems through the use of military force,” ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi told a news briefing.

“We believe in peace. We will not take the initiative that could lead to war. But we will not back down in the face of threats.”

Taiwan was strategically prepared to ensure Taiwan’s security in both the air and sea, Chen added, without elaborating.

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China’s aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. Taiwan has complained when it said Liaoning came too close to Taiwan

China has yet to offer an account of the recent drills near Taiwan. China’s air force said earlier this month its fighters and bombers had recently conducted “multiple” long-range drills far out at sea, including flying near Japan and Taiwan.

China has been increasingly asserting itself in territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Beijing is also worried about a government in Taiwan China fears is intent on independence.

Beijing has never ruled out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, and has warned any moves towards formal independence could prompt an armed response.

Proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by autocratic China.

China is in the midst of an ambitious military modernization program that includes building aircraft carriers and developing stealth fighters to give it the ability to project power far from its shores.

Reporting by Faith Hung; Editing by Ben Blanchard

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China H-6 bomber over Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines

2 Chinese bombers flew over Taiwanese airspace: Taiwan

Prime News, International (Taipei), July 22:- Two Chinese H-6K bombers have flown over Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone east of the island under the close vigil of the latter’s combat aircrafts, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said.

Taiwanese fighter jets closely monitored the movements of the Chinese planes and never posed a threat to national security, the ministry said in a statement on Friday, and called for citizens to remain calm.

It is the first time the Taiwanese military has released photographs showing Chinese military aircraft, Efe news reported.

This year has seen a series of intrusions by Chinese planes and vessels — including aircraft carrier Liaoning — through eastern as well as western Taiwanese waters.

Meanwhile, Taipei has bolstered military exercises and taken steps to keep an eye on the passage of Chinese ships and aircrafts.

Earlier, on Thursday, Japan said 10 Chinese military aircrafts, including H-6K bombers, had overflown the East China Sea, passing through the Miyako Strait between Taiwan and Japan.

Since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen — who is opposed to a union with China — took charge in May 2016, Beijing has stepped up the diplomatic siege as well as military intimidation of the island.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has refused to give up on the use of arms to gain control of the territory. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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U.S. Navy Chief Asks Chinese Counterpart for Help on North Korea

July 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy’s top officer asked his Chinese counterpart to exert influence on North Korea to help rein in its advancing nuclear and missile programs, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson spoke with his Chinese counterpart Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong via a video teleconference.

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Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson

“Richardson voiced his concern about the nuclear and missile programs and emphasized that China should use its unique influence over North Korea,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The call lasted for an hour and the two talked about the need to “work together to address the provocative and unacceptable military behavior by North Korea,” the U.S. Navy said in a statement.

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China Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong

Last month U.S. President Donald Trump said Chinese efforts to persuade North Korea had failed.

Trump has hoped for greater help from China to exert influence over North Korea, leaning heavily on Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders had a high-profile summit in Florida in April and Trump has frequently praised Xi while resisting criticism of Chinese trade practices.

North Korea recently said it conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, and that it had mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on the missile.

The United States has remained technically at war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty. The past six decades have been punctuated by periodic rises in antagonism as well as rhetoric that has stopped short of a resumption of active hostilities.

Tensions rose sharply after North Korea conducted two nuclear weaponstests last year and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)