Decoding China’s Maritime Decisionmaking This issue of AMTI explores China’s maritime policymaking process by breaking down the organizational structure of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and the State, and attempting to shed light on how decisions are reached. Watch CSIS Senior Adviser and Freeman Chair in China Studies Christopher K. Johnson describe developments in maritime policymaking and the drivers behind recent activities in the East and South China Seas.
View an interactive organizational chart depicting the roles of maritime agencies across China’s organizational structure. Read analysis on maritime decision-making by Michael Chase, Andrew Erickson and Conor Kennedy, Bonnie Glaser, Isaac Kardon and Christopher Yung. [Read On]
Directing China’s “Little Blue Men”: Uncovering the Maritime Militia Command Structure While Russia has employed “Little Green Men” surreptitiously in Crimea, China uses its own “Little Blue Men” to support Near Seas claims. As the U.S. military operates near Beijing’s artificially-built South China Sea (SCS) features and seeks to prevent Beijing from ejecting foreign claimants from places like Second Thomas Shoal, it may well face surveillance and harassment from China’s maritime militia. Washington and its allies and partners must therefore understand how these irregular forces are commanded and controlled, before they are surprised and stymied by them. [Read more from Andrew S. Erickson and Conor Kennedy]
China’s Maritime Rights Protection Leading Small Group—Shrouded in Secrecy Foreign policy decisionmaking in China has always been opaque, but under Chinese Communist Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping, it has become even more cryptic. The strongest leader to come to power in more than two decades, Xi has concentrated power in his own hands and rarely vets foreign policy initiatives with the bureaucracy. In the past several years, decisionmaking has been at times rash and impulsive. This is evident especially in maritime affairs, including the announcement of an East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in November 2013, the deployment of a deep water oil drilling rig in disputed waters near the coast of Vietnam in May 2014, and the frenetic-paced dredging in the South China Sea since early 2014. [Read more from Bonnie Glaser]
The Enabling Role of UNCLOS III in PRC Maritime Policy To what extent does the law of the sea influence PRC decisions about maritime policy? If there is any influence, does it on balance play a constraining or enabling role in Beijing’s decisionmaking in this domain? This brief, mostly conceptual article argues that the enabling effects are more significant. For Beijing, UNCLOS III functions to create options for policymakers who view it as an instrument (mostly rhetorical) to protect Chinese maritime security and economic interests (mostly static). Although the black letters of UNCLOS III grant coastal states only modest legal authority beyond their 12 nautical mile territorial sea, Beijing’s legal advisers read the treaty opportunistically and inconsistently. Their input into the policy process tends to encourage and legitimize expanding PRC control over maritime space beyond the normal, narrow limits of coastal state jurisdiction – often at the expense of other legitimate users. [Read more from Isaac B. Kardon]
This paper assesses the influence of the PLA Navy (PLAN) and its affiliated individuals and organizations (referred to as the “PLAN Lobby” or “Navy Lobby”) on specific policies related to China’s “maritime sovereignty”. A lobby is a group of individuals who use direct or indirect means to collectively or individually advocate policy positions to decisionmakers. The PLAN Lobby advocates for larger naval budgets and seeks policies that emphasize the national importance of Chinese maritime interests and naval capabilities, and offers recommendations based on professional expertise on maritime and naval matters. [Read more from Christopher Yung]
I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn.
I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law.
I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam.
In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship.
Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam.
I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN.
I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net).
I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries.
In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống).
In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success".
I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.
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