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Old 01-11-2015   #1
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Default China's Emergence as a Superpower (2015 onwards)

A new thread prompted by two inter-related articles on China's developing military capability by Oriana Skylar Mastro, from Georgetown.

The first opens with:
Quote:
For over a decade, academics, policymakers, and government officials have been engaged in a relentless debate about Chinese military capabilities and intentions. To some, China is likely an expansionist country akin to Germany before WWI. Others argue that China’s assertive behavior in its regional offshore island disputes is simply a manifestation of the Chinese Communist Party’s focus on domestic stability, which precludes any broader global ambitions.

Contrary to the extremes of the current debate, the Chinese military will be neither hollow nor a juggernaut. While the Chinese leadership would prefer to stay focused on internal development and regional issues, I argue in a recent article in The National Interest that facts on the ground will increasingly compel the Party to develop some global operational capabilities.
Link:http://www.lawfareblog.com/2015/01/t...ilitary-power/

The National Interest article, which may duplicate the first:http://nationalinterest.org/feature/...o-global-11882
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Old 01-11-2015   #2
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Default Moderator's Note

The previous thread China's Emergence as a Superpower (till 2014)has been closed, it had run since 2006, with 800 posts and 121k views.
Link:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=4366

There are separate threads - in the Asia-Pacific arena - on China's disputes over islands and waters in the South China Sea, China's view of South Asia and the Indian Ocean, Disputed Islands in East Asia and a very small thread The US Response to China at:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=13942
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Old 03-02-2015   #3
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Quote:
Despite huge advances, China's military suffers from "serious weaknesses" that could limit its ability "to fight and win future wars," a congressional study released this week suggests.

The 184-page report sponsored by the U.S. Congress-mandated U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and prepared by the Rand Corporation, says the People's Liberation Army has made rapid progress in a short time.

However, weaknesses in its organizational structure -- including corruption among its ranks -- and in its combat capabilities mean it faces serious challenges.
http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/13/asia/c...iref=obnetwork

See also http://www.uscc.gov/
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Old 03-02-2015   #4
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Default China drafts law on counterterrorism operations abroad

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China is close to approving a law that will create a legal framework for sending troops abroad on counterterrorism missions as Beijing seeks to address the vulnerability of the country’s growing global commercial and diplomatic interests.

Article 76 would authorize the military, as well as state and public security personnel, to conduct counterterrorism operations abroad with the approval of the “relevant country.”
Link:http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/201.../#.VPRYGY4tzK9
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Old 05-02-2015   #5
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Seven Reasons China Will Start a War By 2017

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/artic...#ixzz3YwHfDmn7
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Old 06-11-2015   #6
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From SWJ News Roundup today, well worth the read if you're interested in China.

http://qz.com/415649/china-is-buildi...re-in-history/

China is building the most extensive global commercial-military empire in history

Quote:
Yet these profiles of an allegedly grasping and treacherous China tend to consider its ambitions in disconnected pieces. What these pieces add up to is a whole latticework of infrastructure materializing around the world. Combined with the ambitious activities of Chinese companies, they are quickly growing into history’s most extensive global commercial empire.
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Old 12-02-2015   #7
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Default CHN-BATT @ Juba

A short BBC News film clip of the Chinese peacekeepers in Juba, South Sudan and an informative commentary:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-34976580

A few selected phrases:
Quote:
China is here to win hearts and minds....This enhanced role for China beyond the marketplace, is seen by observers such as Jakkie Cilliers from the Institute of Security Studies not as an assertion of its military might but a "normalisation" of China's role in Africa.....But despite the robust language coming out of Beijing we are unlikely to see unilateral action by the most populous nation in the world. Instead China looks set to embed itself deeper into UN operations.
There is a parallel thread China's Expanding Role in Africa:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2164
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Old 02-21-2016   #8
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Default China Has Read Clausewitz, Carefully.

New Tensions in the South China Sea by James Holmes/Reuters/19Feb2016. See:http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debat...uth-china-sea/

Quote:
In a move that should surprise precisely no one, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has positioned surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) on one of its South China Sea islands — namely Woody Island, home to Sansha, the administrative capital for the islands, atolls, and other geographic features Beijing claims in the Paracels and Spratlys. For Beijing this move makes eminent sense on many levels: it constitutes yet another reply to American and Southeast Asian challenges to its claims of “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the South China Sea.

For a 19th-century Prussian take on the situation, think about Carl von Clausewitz’s definition of war. War, opines the West’s master of strategy, is essentially fighting, while fighting in turn is “a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of the latter.” That is, it’s a test of wills settled through deploying manpower and hardware for battlefield encounters. Whoever prevails by force of arms wins — and breaks the enemy’s resolve to continue the fight in the process. Battlefield victory begets strategic and political success.

A war of words, on the other hand, might be described as a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of perceived physical force. To prevail in a peacetime showdown, convince the opponent and influential outsiders that you would have won in actual combat. Do that — make believers out of important audiences — and you may reap the rewards of victory without enduring the hazards, costs, and sheer caprice of combat. You may win without fighting — as sane leaders everywhere want to.

The missile deployment represents Beijing’s way of trying to make Asian and Western competitors believers in the PLA’s unbeatable martial prowess. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense reported spotting two batteries of eight HQ-9 missiles apiece, along with the associated search and fire-control radars. Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command, confirmed the report while condemning China’s “militarization” of South China Sea waters and skies — something China’s President Xi Jinping has vowed not to do. Harris’ words corroborate the reporting out of Taipei convincingly.

But what does it all mean? Start with the obvious: this is a weapons system that packs a wallop. The Woody Island deployment spells danger for hostile air forces that venture within a sizable bubble above and around Woody Island. The HQ-9’s maximum range of 200 km, or about 124 miles, traces the outer reaches of that bubble, which encloses some 48,300 square miles of sea area — about the same land area as my former home state of Mississippi — centered on the island. That empowers HQ-9s to bring down aircraft anywhere over the Paracels group — including over Triton Island, where USS Curtis Wilbur staged a “freedom-of-navigation” cruise last month. These lethal “birds” could make short work of the helicopters operated by surface ships like Curtis Wilbur.

That should give American skippers pause before defying Chinese challenges to freedom of the seas — one of which is the freedom to operate aircraft outside coastal states’ territorial seas, namely anywhere more than 12 nautical miles offshore. The HQ-9 is a Frankenmissile. A close cousin to Russia’s S-300 — a missile that keeps American and allied aviators awake nights — it allegedly incorporates technology from U.S. Army Patriot SAMs as well. China reportedly obtained a Patriot from Israel following the first Gulf War, studied it, and used its findings to improve the HQ-9 during the research and development phase. China is the Borg of military affairs: it strives constantly to add foreigners’ technological distinctiveness to its own, making PLA weaponry more lethal than it otherwise might be.

But it would be a mistake to interpret Woody Island’s HQ-9s as a standalone weapons system. Sure, 16 missiles constitutes a potent deterrent to Southeast Asian air forces, which field small numbers of tactical aircraft — many of which are technologically backward. The Vietnam People’s Air Force, to name one such force, boasts an impressive-looking force of 217 Russian-built MiG and Sukhoi fighter aircraft. Of those, however, fully 144 are MiG-21s — Soviet planes that first took to the skies in 1955. These antique warbirds would make easy pickings for HQ-9s. Or, Chinese air defenses could take down a sizable fraction of Vietnam’s more modern, 73-plane inventory should Hanoi hurl them into the fray. The prospect of losing one-fifth of Vietnam’s air force in an afternoon could certainly deter.

It doesn’t stop there, however. PLA commanders’ goal is to erect an increasingly dense thicket of defenses against ships, aircraft, and missiles spanning areas China considers its own. Anti-ship missiles stationed along the mainland’s shorelines can already strike throughout the South China Sea. Land-based, missile-armed aircraft are part of the mix, as are missile-armed surface craft and submarines. So is China’s nascent force of aircraft carriers.h Missile batteries deployed to all Chinese-held islands — naturally occurring, like Woody Island, or manufactured, like Mischief Reef — would integrate with such weaponry, creating overlapping fields of fire. In other words, ships or planes entering China’s no-go zone would face multiple threats along multiple axes. Commanders would think twice before hazarding precious assets and crews in Southeast Asia — and might abjure the attempt altogether.

If so, Beijing will have upheld its territorial claims without fighting. By making believers out of prospective foes, it will have vindicated its indisputable sovereignty in the South China Sea. Sovereignty, at its most basic, means physical control of territory and airspace within certain lines inscribed on the map. Physical supremacy in the South China Sea would let Beijing dictate the rules whereby ships and aircraft pass through regional waters and skies. It would also let Beijing reserve the right to close Southeast Asian sea routes to foreign shipping should it see the need — making one of the world’s great nautical thoroughfares a no-go zone.

So enough with the ###-for-tat debate over who militarized what in Southeast Asia. Navies are the guardians of freedom of the sea. When someone lodges unlawful claims, navies flout those claims to keep them from calcifying into international practice and, perhaps, into customary international law. China, therefore, can always claim America was the first to militarize the South China Sea controversy — a controversy that China itself created by challenging freedom of the seas. If Beijing won this point, it’s a trivial one. It’s doubtful anyone will buy the narrative that a hegemonic United States is bullying poor little China.

And on and on the Clausewitzian dialogue by displays of force will go. To reply to China’s HQ-9 challenge, the United States and its Asian allies must demonstrate that they can exercise maritime freedoms despite the worst the PLA can throw at them. They should also ponder how to prove that they could take down Chinese missile sites should the worst come. If they do that, they may make believers of the Chinese and other observers—and bolster their likelihood of deterring future Chinese misconduct.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-25-2016 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Fix quote and add source link as new member. Merged into main thread.
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Old 12-03-2015   #9
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Default What are the Chinese up to in Australia?

IMHO a strange article from WoTR which suggests the Australian-US alliance is threatened by the Chinese ownership of the port facilities @ Darwin:http://warontherocks.com/2015/12/wha...in-australia/?

Here is a sample passage:
Quote:
....Australia is betting Chinese access to the Darwin Port will not strategically endanger the presence and training of Australian Defense Force (ADF) units and their American counterparts. The cost-benefit calculations of welcoming Chinese investment just a few miles from U.S. and ADF forces simply do not add up: Greater risks to national security emerge amid limited economic benefits for the Northern Territory. Speculation about whether Darwin will ultimately transition from a Chinese-managed commercial port to a clandestine hub for Chinese espionage of Australian and U.S. forces, or even more seriously, an impediment to the U.S.–Australian security relationship in use as a Chinese naval logistics facility merit closer examination, given implications for Australian and American security and defense ties.
The author overlooks the wider Sino-US relationship, yes ownership of port facilities is noteworthy, a far greater threat to US security is the PRC's ownership of so many US Treasury bonds.
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Old 12-07-2015   #10
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Good catches, those NYT articles are a fine read. Especially the one about Africa.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
The author overlooks the wider Sino-US relationship, yes ownership of port facilities is noteworthy, a far greater threat to US security is the PRC's ownership of so many US Treasury bonds.
To be honest the view that Chinese investment into US Treasury bonds is something of a threat is at best overblown. What can they do once they bought them, sell them?

Personally one of the best strategic things happening to the US is the large amount of Chinese money streaming into the country, especially the housing market. While I understand that in some localities this causes problem for US housebuyers overall it provides an economic boost for sellers and builders and might dampen the threat of conflict as increasingly large Chinese assets are put at risk is such case. Even more so if the influx of students continues...
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Old 12-07-2015   #11
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The greatest economic story of the last four decades has been Chinese growth, which has enabled hundreds of millions to escape poverty and to embrace new opportunities. The huge benefits however came with clear costs, of which the air pollution is the most widely known.*

The strategic implications of China's hunger for ressources have been discussed earlier so I want to focus in the next posts on the great Chinese push in renewable energy, electric transport and related factors. Combined it wil reduce or at least dampen some energy imports, although it will hardly change the fact that China needs vast volumes of trade with the rest of the world, especially the west.

Installed Wind capacity has become big but transmission is still problematic:

Quote:
“China is a vast land, and here in Xinjiang, we’re very far away from the rest of the country,” Zhu said. “We need transmission to send this electricity thousands of miles away.”

Zhu points to the south, where Goldwind has just built nearly a hundred top-of-the-line turbines. The fierce wind blows through them, too, but their blades aren’t turning. Goldwind is waiting for China’s electrical grid to catch up.

The government’s building five ultra-high transmission lines in Xinjiang to send this energy to the places that need it, but it will take time. “A huge transmission line takes three to five years to build, but a wind farm only takes a year to build, said former Goldwind CEO Yu Wuming.

And that’s why, said Goldwind’s Zhu Xinxiang, 40 percent of the electricity generated by Dabancheng in the past year went nowhere. The energy could have powered a million homes, preventing air pollution and reducing China’s carbon footprint, but there weren’t transmission lines in place to carry it all
China has invested more then any country in HVDC lines but there is still much work to be done.



China has vastly expended it's wind capacity and is currently likely World leader however the grid problems will hold energy production greatly back which is a big problem from ROI to pollution.

All in all wind generation greatly profits from the technological developments of the last years and the sparsely populated interior regions should increasingly provide the densly populated coastal East with electricity.



Higher gross capacity will in the long run lessen the storage problem and should push prices down.

The two graphics come from the excellent blog of Ramez Naam.


*It is important to point out that heavy industries and heating with coal had a devastating impact on Chinese cities already fifty years ago, think early late 19th century Europe.
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Last edited by Firn; 12-07-2015 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 12-10-2015   #12
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Forget to post the wind potential of China. Obviously such maps should be just taken as a very rough guide at a more or less current state of technology. Developments as those outlined above increase the capacity per area.



The growth of Wind power can be better illustrated with a graph:





That Solar starts to shares some of the problems of Wind is a sign of the times:

Quote:
Around 9% of China’s solar PV capacity was forced to sit idle for the first six months of 2015, NEA reports, with the northwestern regions of Gansu and Xinjiang home to the majority of dormant generators.

As the pace of renewable electricity capacity accelerates, some sections of the Chinese grid have been unable to absorb the new generation adequately, forcing authority bodies to either delay solar PV connection or leave idle those solar farms that cannot be satisfactorily integrated into the grid.
Of course this also happens to some fossil plants but the nature of renewables with a high initial investment and free energy input make such grid problems a lot riskier for the investors.




Growth has been strong indeed:

Quote:
According to the latest statistics from China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), installed capacity for the country’s PV power generation reached 37.95 GW as of the end of September, with 31.70 GW provided by PV power stations and 6.25 GW coming from distributed PV power projects. For the nine months, the country added 9.9 GW of PV power generation capacity, an increase of 161 percent when compared with the same period of a year earlier. The amount includes 8.32 GW from PV power stations and 1.58 GW from distributed PV power projects.
I don't know of course the specifics of the Chinese dealmaking but I found the return on investment rather interesting:

Quote:
China Photovoltaic Industry Association chairman Gao Jifan explained that, throughout the whole industry chain, the internal rate of return for development projects at China’s PV power stations has been ranging between 8 percent and 10 percent, significantly higher than the average level for the manufacturing sector overall.
There is no doubt that China could in the long run replace fossil fuel and even nuclear with renewables when it comes to the production of electricity. It's a question of rather simple math and investmentsm into a process which will take time. But what about heating and transport?
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Last edited by Firn; 12-10-2015 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 12-28-2015   #13
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Transport has also undergone a massive transformation in the last decades, be it by air or land, car or train, bicycle or electroscooter. And indeed China has led the world in two-wheeled electromobility, with around 200 million electric two-wheelers moving now mostly people through it's cities and villages.

2015 has been the year where China, the world's largest car market, also took the lead (no pun intended) in electric cars with up to 250000 units sold.
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