Research: Security and Foreign Affairs

Research
This Issue Brief examines the U.S. Navy’s recent freedom of navigation patrol in the South China Sea, and discusses what China, the United States, and the rest of the region might do next in the South China Sea. The last time U.S. military ships and aircraft sailed or flew within 12 nautical miles (nm) of Chinese-occupied features in the Spratly Islands was 2012. On October 27, however, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer conducted a freedom of navigation patrol within 12 nm of Subi Reef, a land feature on top of which China has built an artificial island. Reportedly, the patrol “was completed without incident,” though China’s navy sent two ships to monitor and issue warnings to the U.S. destroyer. The U.S. ship also conducted freedom of navigation operations within 12 nm of land features occupied by Vietnam and the Philippines. The objective of the freedom of navigation patrol appears to have been to signal that the U.S government does not consider China to have sovereignty over the 12 nm area of sea adjacent to Subi Reef. Transforming a low-tide elevation into an artificial island does not entitle it to a territorial sea. The patrol did not make a statement about the validity of China’s sovereignty claim over Subi Reef itself.
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In April 2015, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence confirmed that China has deployed the YJ-18 antiship cruise missile (ASCM) on some People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy submarines and surface ships. The YJ-18’s greater range and speed than previous Chinese ASCMs, along with its wide deployment across PLA platforms, would significantly increase China’s antiaccess/area denial capabilities against U.S. Navy surface ships operating in the Western Pacific during a potential conflict. The YJ-18 probably will be widely deployed on China’s indigenously built ASCM-capable submarines and newest surface ships by 2020, and China could develop a variant of the YJ-18 to replace older missiles in its shore-based ASCM arsenal. This paper assesses the capabilities of the YJ-18 and describes the implications of its wide deployment for U.S. forces operating in the Western Pacific. The author exclusively used open source information and considered the capabilities of similar missiles to assess the likely characteristics of the YJ-18.
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This Staff Report assesses the political realities that have limited Taiwan’s participation in global fisheries management, and the ways by which Taiwan has leveraged the size, geographic range, and technical capabilities of its fishing industry to take modest and pragmatic steps to expand its participation in bilateral, regional, and international fisheries-related agreements.
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On May 20, 2015, a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane flew from Clark Air Base in the Philippines to three South China Sea reefs—Subi Reef, Mischief Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef—where China has been undertaking extensive land reclamation projects in an apparent attempt to bolster its territorial claims and establish a permanent military presence in its near seas. This is just one of several actions the U.S. government has recently taken to “name and shame” China for its increasingly assertive behavior in the South China Sea. It remains to be seen whether this strategy will prompt China to reconsider its current behavior.
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On May 26th, the Chinese government released its 10th defense white paper (DWP), entitled “China’s Military Strategy.” DWPs—China’s most authoritative statements on national security—are published by the State Council Information Office and approved by the Central Military Commission, Ministry of National Defense, and State Council. Beijing primarily uses these documents as a public relations tool to help ease deepening international concern over China’s military modernization and answer calls for greater transparency. The new DWP tracks closely with the 2012 DWP and contains no major revelations about China’s military strategy or modernization; however, it includes some new guidance and emphasizes or clarifies certain aspects of its existing strategy, providing insights into China’s perceptions of its own security and its evolving defense priorities.
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This report seeks to quantify changes in the bilateral relationship between China and North Korea by examining hundreds of discrete exchanges between Chinese and North Korean officials as reported by the Director of National Intelligence Open Source Center from January 2009 to December 2014. The authors categorized these exchanges by type and by seniority of the participants and evaluated trends in these categories over time. Finally, this report assesses trends in China-North Korea exchanges in the context of overall China-North Korea bilateral relations.
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Report prepared for the Commission by Kevin Pollpeter, Eric Anderson, Jordan Wilson, and Fan Yang of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. The report examines China’s space programs and how they advance China’s national security, economic, and diplomatic interests. According to the report, China’s goal is to become a space power on par with the United States.
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This report examines many of the weaknesses in the PLA’s human capital and organization realms, its combat capabilities across various domains, and China’s defense research and industrial complex. Furthermore, the report analyzes how these weaknesses affect the PLA’s performance of missions tasked by Beijing.
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This report examines recent upgrades to Taiwan’s patrol fleet and implications for Taiwan’s security.
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As the United States weighs options for responding to the widely publicized cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in November 2014, for which it has attributed responsibility to North Korea, the perspectives and potential reactions of China are of particular interest. This report analyzes four questions regarding China's position: whether it was involved in the attack, prospects for cooperation with the U.S. response, likely reactions to a U.S. counterstrike in cyberspace, and potential for future deterrence based on U.S. actions.