AsiaEye, the official blog of the Project 2049 Institute, will now occasionally feature longer “Insight” pieces that examine strategic trends and developments in the Asia-Pacific in greater depth.
Insight #1: Asia's Turbulent Waters: Blue Water Tensions in the Yellow Sea
Naval tensions mounting over recent months in Asia have unfolded in a blue water drama featuring almost every seafaring nation in the region. After North Korea allegedly sunk a South Korean ship, China and North Korea vehemently protested a set of joint naval exercises scheduled by the United States and South Korea while Washington and Beijing traded barbs on the best means for claimants to settle territorial disputes in the South China Sea. These simmering tensions will test how territorial disputes, relationships between great and rising powers, key alliances, and freedom of navigation will be managed over the next few decades.
Recently, China’s state-run media quietly announced the construction of facilities for a new Second Artillery missile brigade – the 96166 Unit – in the northern Guangdong municipality of Shaoguan [韶关]. Although the province is already home to a Second Artillery short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) brigade (the 96169 unit in Meizhou), initial reports and indicators signal that the new unit could have unique capabilities that could complicate the strategic calculus in Asia, and the South China Sea in particular.