In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Professor Rory Medcalf joins us to discuss China’s strategy in the Solomon Islands and the Southwest Pacific. Professor Medcalf explains that the Southwest Pacific, for much of its history, has not been a zone of major power competition and is important because it stands geographically between Australia and the rest of the Indo-Pacific and the US. The Solomon Islands is one of multiple locations in the region that China has expressed military interest in. He also argues that China’s objectives in the region could distort the interests and priorities of governments and societies and could change the region’s balance of power. Lastly, Professor Medcalf recommends that the Australian government and its partners build and maintain a new level of engagement (through both governance and civil society) in the region in order to provide alternatives to China’s influence.
In this episode, Greg Poling joins us to discuss China’s behavior, motivations, and strategy in the South China Sea, including recent incidents and escalating tensions with the Philippines and Vietnam. Mr. Poling analyzes whether China’s narrative in the South China Sea is a compelling one, and warns of the potential for unintended escalations of violence between claimant states. He also touches on China’s increasing militarization of the South China Sea, and critiques the Trump administration’s strategy to advance US interests in the region.
In this episode, Dr. Hans Kristensen joins us to discuss China’s nuclear policy, nuclear weapons capabilities, and nuclear doctrine. Dr. Kristensen assesses the significance of Beijing’s no-first-use policy and compares China’s nuclear arsenal with those of other major powers. He also explains potential factors that may lead China to increase its nuclear arsenal and alter its current nuclear strategy in the future.
In this episode, Andrew Erickson joins us to discuss China’s recent efforts to modernize its navy and expand its naval fleet. He assesses China’s current naval capabilities relative to other countries and examines the future prospects of China’s naval modernization. He also touches on China’s commercial and military shipbuilding activities in addition to the evolution of China’s aircraft carrier program and its future trajectory.
China is making steady progress in constructing what is believed to be its third aircraft carrier. Commercial satellite imagery collected on August 18, 2020, shows significant developments in the construction of the vessel and additional improvements to the infrastructure at Jiangnan Shipyard.
The entry of China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, attracts considerable attention from both the press and military observers around the world. It represents China’s global power for some, and a significant step towards a more assertive Chinese navy for others.
Seven years after the Liaoning entered service into the Chinese navy, China commissioned its second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, on December 17, 2019. This ship features notable enhancements over the Liaoning and represents an important step in China’s developing aircraft carrier program.