What do we know (so far) about China’s second aircraft carrier?

Five years after commissioning its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, China launched its second carrier - the Type 001A - on April 26, 2017. Unlike its Soviet-built predecessor, the Type 001A is China’s first domestically built carrier. Both carriers are similar in size and use a STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system for the [...]

Does China’s J-20 rival other stealth fighters?

The Chengdu J-20 marks the first entry of a multirole stealth fighter into China’s armed forces. According to the Department of Defense (DOD), China views stealth technology as a core component in the transformation of its air force from “a predominantly territorial air force to one capable of conducting both offensive and defensive operations.” Designed [...]

China’s Power: Up for Debate

The challenges and opportunities presented by China’s rise are hotly contested. To help make sense of the issue, ChinaPower hosted its inaugural conference on November 29, 2016. The conference featured a series of debates between leading experts on the nature of Chinese power. The audience was polled for their opinion both before and after each [...]

Are maritime law enforcement forces destabilizing Asia?

Over the past several years, China has revamped its maritime strategy to reflect its shifting national priorities. At the 18th National Party Congress in 2012, then-President Hu Jintao called for China to become a “maritime power” capable of safeguarding its maritime rights and interests. This position was reinforced in a 2015 defense white paper that [...]

Could China seize and occupy Taiwan militarily?

Although both China and Taiwan maintain separate militaries and governments, China continues to assert sovereignty claims over Taiwan. Beijing officially seeks peaceful reunification, but has not ruled out the use of force in countering efforts to create an independent Taiwan. In the past, China has demonstrated a willingness to apply military pressure on Taiwan. China’s ongoing [...]

Is China a military superpower?

Fueled by decades of rapid economic growth and a desire to secure its security interests, China has embarked on a large-scale modernization of its military. President Xi Jinping (who also heads China’s Central Military Commission) has instituted extensive military reforms aimed at streamlining command structures and improving Chinese military strength. China now boasts its first [...]

Does China have an effective sea-based nuclear deterrent?

As China continues its multifaceted military modernization, one of the most closely watched programs has been China’s slow, but steady march toward developing an effective class of ballistic missile submarines (SSBN). Consistent with Chinese nuclear doctrine and defense white papers, Chinese strategic nuclear forces are meant to comprise a “lean and effective deterrent force” for the [...]

What does China really spend on its military?

A country’s defense spending represents the most direct way of measuring its potential military capability. In terms of gauging relative military strength, the size of defense budgets can be compared between countries over a set period of time. These comparisons are particularly insightful when tracing regional trends in military spending and identifying critical political events [...]

How does China’s first aircraft carrier stack up?

The entry of China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, into service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) attracted considerable attention from both the Chinese press and military observers around the world. For some, the Liaoning was a symbol of China’s global power; for others, it represented a significant first step toward a more muscular [...]

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