|ST, May 27|
Interestingly, while much of the media's attention has been focused on the brouhaha over the South China Sea and the People's Liberation Army's commitment of resources to modernisation of maritime assets, the White Paper takes a gloomy look as well at the Korean Peninsula -- a more serious flashpoint involving its truculent ally, North Korea:
China Warns of 'Instability' on Korean Peninsula
So, in East Asia, is China more watchful over the South China Sea (involving the ASEAN minions) or East Asia (involving Japan and the two Koreas)?
But the key question about the latest White Paper is this: Is China no longer adhering to its much-vaunted (and highly praised) pledge of "No First Use" of its nuclear arsenal? The previous document in 2013 had been ambiguous about this pledge and it looks like the 2015 edition has done likewise:
The 2015 edition merely says: "We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked."
I think this is still semantically vague as it does not specifically say China will not be the first to use nuclear weapons (it had explicitly said so in the past).
Finally, China is sending an admiral as head of its delegation to the Singapore-hosted Shangri-La Dialogue. Beijing had previously sent PLA generals and I believe this is the first time a PLAN admiral is helming its team:
|ST, May 27|
The journalists at the talk fest should also nail him down to an unqualified reiteration of China's "No First Use" of nuclear weapons.