Taiwan has had industrial financial viability problems with the construction of new minehunting vessels. These problems are indicative of the difficulties Taipei faces in its indigenous military modernisation efforts aimed at ameliorating its military inferiority vis-à-vis China.
Pictures of what appears to be a test installation of a naval railgun on a PLA Navy landing ship suggest China is moving forward with sea trials of a weapon which can threaten all Western surface assets. At the start of a huge ship-building plan, China is ideally placed to capitalise on this technology.
South Korea’s president recently visited Iran and presented it with a trade-off: realise the full potential of trade and investment with a major Asian economy or maintain illicit military links to North Korea. Iran’s response, while progressive, may have fallen short of her hopes.
The pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has defeated the Nationalist Party (KMT) in Taiwan’s elections. Beijing’s reaction to the result will depend on how it interprets the DPP’s intentions towards the existing framework defining cross-strait relations.
China’s stock market crash is not the beginning of a global economic downturn, or the start of a Chinese recession. But it is a reminder of just how fragile China remains, and how far it still is from the status of a global power.
Officials from the US and China put on brave faces at the recently concluded US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Tensions in the maritime and cyber realms, however, are threatening to send the relationship into a downward spiral.