Skip to content

Category: China

China’s neighbors embrace asymmetric warfare

By Michal Thim

Asymmetry is the new black, at least among defense analysts dealing with the Asia-Pacific. Asymmetrical warfare is an age-old concept. Recently, however, it has been mostly associated with insurgent groups or guerrillas capitalizing on their familiarity with irregular terrain in hit-and-run operations against regular government forces. As employed by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Irish Republican Army, asymmetrical strategies and tactics were ideally suited to small groups standing against well-equipped government forces in their efforts to pursue a particular political agenda.

In the Asia-Pacific region, asymmetry is more commonly associated with the military disparities between nations. It is often expressed as the concept of Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD), which is primarily referenced in relation to preparations by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to prevent access—and consequently deny unhindered operation—to the US Navy and America’s other forward-deployed forces stationed in Japan. Decades of Chinese military modernization has given the PRC the capability to project force a much greater distance from its shores, with an eye toward eventually deploying a blue-water navy. Despite this, A2/AD remains at the forefront of China’s efforts to establish itself as a potent military power.

Transnational Water Security in Asia: A Leadership Role for Rising Powers?

Written by Katherine Morton for the China Policy Institute

Water security is one of the most intractable challenges confronting Asia’s future. It is widely recognised that climate change combined with other stress factors relating to population growth, urbanisation, and unsustainable development are leading to negative impacts on the availability and quality of the region’s water resources. Equally worrying are the lack of formal multilateral mechanisms to encourage water sharing on a region-wide basis. Under these conditions, the potential exists for water conflicts to escalate, and even the spectre of water wars between states seems possible. But a worst-case scenario is by no means inevitable. A critical question is whether Asia’s emerging powers – China and India – will take a leadership role in building cooperation.

Democracy is still a conversation worth having: Teaching in Asia

By Michael Connors

In April 2009 the Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan had this to say at the China-based Boao Forum: “I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled…If we are not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.” He went on to criticise protests in Hong Kong and the generally unruly tone of the place.

That’s why Jackie Chan is one of my favourite political philosophers. In a way that no drone from the school of dialectical materialism could have encapsulated, he explained the pressing need for authoritarian guardianship over the Chinese people (on the mainland and elsewhere).  The dialectic always gets karate-chopped with Jackie.