04 March 2015
While conventional, low-intensity, asymmetric, or non-linear conflict scenarios are plausible for East Asia’s strategic flashpoints, the next major conflict involving China will likely start in cyberspace.
East Asia’s strategic assessments and debates currently focus on five key issues: the pace, character, and direction of China’s military modernisation; the struggle for dominance by the region’s two major powers (China and Japan); the future of the Korean Peninsula; intra-regional competition in territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea; and perhaps most importantly, the contours of long-term regional strategic competition and rivalry between China and the United States. In every major security issue facing East Asia, however, there is a major Chinese footprint, both direct and indirect.
Traditionally, China’s primary strategic interests, influence, and military modernisation initiatives have aimed at prevailing in any future conflict over the status of Taiwan. While Taiwan scenarios remain the baseline for the PLA defence planning, China’s military is gradually developing asymmetric warfare strategies and technologies designed to constrain US freedom of action in East Asia. Notwithstanding China’s development of fifth-generation air platforms, standoff precision weapons, ballistic and cruise missiles, early warning, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to naval assets, the key emphasis in PLA strategy is the applicability of computer network operations. Indeed, the next main conflict involving China will likely start in cyberspace.
…Michael Raska is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015