Following the release of China’s defence white paper, an enormous amount of attention is being paid to China’s naval and air force modernisation as well as its nuclear and missile forces. However, it is the PLA’s less-discussed army that is going to play the most critical role in safeguarding China’s security interests in 2009.
China’s Sixtieth Anniversary Naval Review served as an opportunity to remind the international community of its meteoric rise and relevance to international security. The event also acted as a milestone for China’s armed forces, putting the world on notice that China intends to have a fully-fledged blue-water navy by 2050.
North Korea continues to play games with its regional neighbours, shielded in part by its Cold War allies in the United Nations Security Council, and emboldened by its tactics and growing military capabilities. The question is what can anyone do about it?
The UK’s first ever government document on the UK-China relationship aims to prepare British diplomacy for a new phase in China’s development as a rising power. In doing so, Britain must tread carefully as it helps China to become an important multilateral partner in international security.
With a new ruler certain to take up power in 2009, North Korea’s state will undergo substantial changes in substance and in form. The international community must pay close attention to the ongoing palace drama in Pyongyang and ready themselves to deal with the strategic and humanitarian consequences of such changes.