China Spent Decades Trying to Build a Better AK-47
In the mid-1960s, the Chinese military began to seek a replacement for its assortment of Soviet-licensed small arms, including the Type 56 semi-automatic rifle, the Type 56 assault rifle and the Type 56 light machine gun. The result was the Type 63, first issued in 1968, which combined characteristics... Read more
Japan’s Weaker Fleet Crushed China at the Battle of the Yalu River
“TOKYO, July 31, 1894—’For the foreseeable future,’ declares an American defense expert, ‘no rational Japanese naval planner could present a plan to defeat the Chinese navy, even in the Yellow Sea.’ Why say such a thing? Because it stands to reason. Japan has been a modern industrial nation only... Read more
Is China’s New Amphibious Assault Ship a Big Waste of Time?
China is set to complete its first large-deck amphibious assault ship—the Type 075—by 2020. The vessel, which is currently under construction at the Hudong Zhonghua shipyards in Shanghai, is roughly the same size as one of the U.S. Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ships. “Construction of the Type 075 ships... Read more
China’s Got Yak Troops
Chinese army soldiers in Xinjiang, a high, remote territory on the border with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, can’t always count on road access to strategic regions. So they ride yaks, instead, as Xinhua’s recent photos illustrate.   There are a few other true cavalry units in the... Read more
Iraq’s Chinese-Made Killer Drones
Iraq’s defense minister Khaled Al Obaidi visited Ubaydah Bin Al Jarrah Air Base, a former MiG base in the eastern part of the country. A photo of the media event revealed a Chinese-made CH-4 drone — Beijing’s answer to America’s Predator — in the background, wearing Iraqi colors. The... Read more
China’s Army Hauls Ass on High-Speed Rail
Originally published on June 2, 2015. On most days, China’s high-speed rail network is for hauling millions — yes, millions — of commuters, vacationers and tourists around the country. But on May 14, 2015, one section of the growing network served a very different purpose. A People’s Liberation Army brigade from the Lanzhou... Read more
The CIA’s Weird History of Nuclear China
Earlier this month, the CIA declassified a treasure trove of information — the daily briefs it wrote for U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson from 1961 to 1969. The agency’s memos cover one of the most fascinating and frightening periods of American history. During the 1960s, communist ideologies... Read more
Chinese Subs Finally Get a Shot at American Carriers
In 1995 and 1996, Taiwanese politicians signaled greater support for declaring their island country officially independent of China. Beijing’s response was swift, forceful … and ultimately an embarrassment to China. The Chinese army fired several missiles toward small, Taiwanese-held islands. That’s when the United States intervened in a big... Read more
In 2010, the U.S. Navy Surfaced Three Missiles Subs as a Warning to China
Nuclear powers rarely go to war with each other, but that doesn’t mean they don’t threaten to do so. Indeed, military posturing is an integral part of what Forrest Morgan, an analyst for the RAND Corporation, called “crisis stability.” In other words, “building and posturing forces in ways that... Read more
China Has Begun Listening for American Submarines
Originally published on April 13, 2014. China has begin installing sensitive hydrophones on the floor of the China Seas in an effort to detect and track submarines belonging to the U.S. and its allies. Lyle Goldstein and Shannon Knight, both highly-respected naval analysts, described the new listening system as... Read more
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