The prevailing view among Western observers is that Chinese fighter pilots lack the tactical mindset to engage and prevail in a dynamic, unscripted combat environment. But the PLAAF appears to have undertaken major reform in how it trains its pilots.
Concerns are growing in Taipei over whether the Holy See intends to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. Beijing could be entertaining Vatican requests not out of genuine interest in reestablishing relations, but to put Taiwan on edge.
One of the contentious issues in this year's presidential election campaign is the U.S. role in the global economy. A RAND panel offers strategies for the next president, who will face a troubled landscape.
The newest round of reforms to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is expected to improve the military's efficiency, warfighting capability, and political loyalty, but entrenched interests within the PLA could lead to reluctance within the military to adjust to new realities.
Taiwanese President Tsai has issued numerous political overtures to Beijing, yet Chinese President Xi has demonstrated a clear reluctance to accept her as a credible partner. Instead, he has turned up the heat on Tsai in an attempt to undermine her administration.
The PCA found in July that China's coast guard had breached several UNCLOS articles governing safety and navigation at sea. Hopefully, this will help build a legal case that abiding by basic maritime safety principles is in the interest of all countries, including China.
Xi Jinping's reforms could result in a leaner, more combat-effective PLA that presents a more potent challenge to China's neighbors and to U.S. interests. But even successful reforms will not guarantee victory on the battlefield, and any hypothetical conflict involving the U.S. would carry tremendous risks.
Surface-to-air missile (SAM) forces play a crucial role in Chinese military planning. Recent training activity indicates that PLAAF SAM units' operational readiness and capabilities may vary depending on their location and the time of year.