Roger Cliff

  • A ‘Body Slam’ for China

    Tribunal rejects Beijing’s claims in South China Sea

    A ruling by an international tribunal in The Hague that China’s claims to “historic rights” in the South China Sea are unlawful delivers a setback to Beijing’s territorial ambitions. The question remains, however, whether this verdict will in any way alter China’s behavior.

    “For sure, this is a major body slam for China,” said Jamie Metzl, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on  International Security.

    The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that there is no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the “nine-dash line”—this line, which stretches hundreds of miles south and east from China’s southern Hainan province, marks territory claimed by China. Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam all claim areas of the South China Sea inside the nine-dash line.

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  • Cliff Quoted by Asia Times on Strength of US Bases in the Pacific

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  • Cliff Quoted by Los Angeles Times on China's Placement of Antiaircraft Missiles on Disputed South China Sea Island

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  • Could China Use Force to Settle Taiwan Sovereignty Issue?

    China-Taiwan relations have warmed significantly as a consequence of increased economic interdependence, but some analysts believe that Beijing may ultimately use force to settle the issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty.

    The election in January of Taiwan’s first female President, Tsai Ing-wen, who leads the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, has been viewed warily by Beijing. Soon after Tsai’s election, China’s state-run media warned Taiwan to abandon “hallucinations” about independence. Beijing asserts that there is only “One China” of which Taiwan is an inalienable part. President-elect Tsai has vowed to preserve the status quo in relations with Beijing.

    “[T]he status of Taiwan remains unresolved and the possibility of the use of force [by China] to resolve this issue is not entirely off the table,” said Tiffany Ma, Director of Political and Security Affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research.

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  • Japan Should Strive to be ‘Regional Security Leader,’ Report Suggests

    Atlantic Council report recommends Japan bolster self-defense forces while maintaining close military ties with the United States

    Japan should take on a more active role in regional security but remain closely under the United States’ military umbrella, according to a new Atlantic Council report presented on Nov. 15.

    The report, “Japan’s Security Role and Capabilities in the 2020s,” produced after a yearlong study of the Pacific nation’s military, technological, and economic capabilities, makes a number of recommendations for Japan’s defense posture.

    “The overall role that Japan should take on in the region is what I call 'regional security leader,’ which I define as a nation that can take the lead in organizing multilateral responses to regional security challenges,” said Roger Cliff, the report’s author and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security.

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  • Cliff: With Security Challenges Looming, Time for Japan to Step Up

    Asia Security Initiative Nonresident Senior Fellow Roger Cliff writes for The National Interest on the steps Japan needs to take to become a major contributor to East Asian security:

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  • Japan's Security Role and Capabilities in the 2020s

    pdfRead the Report (PDF)

    Security challenges in East Asia are becoming acute. North Korea is developing a missile-deliverable nuclear weapon, and the long-term stability of the Pyongyang regime is questionable. Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of Chinese territory, is about to have a presidential election in which a candidate from a pro-independence party is the front-runner. China has also become increasingly assertive in its territorial disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian countries. Meanwhile, Japan's leaders are attempting to redefine the role Japan plays in regional security affairs. Indeed, Japan's legislature recently enacted revisions to the country's national security laws that would loosen limitations on the use of Japan's armed forces, and the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to increase defense spending.

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  • Cliff: China's Military: Mighty Dragon or Paper Tiger?

    Asia Security Initiative Nonresident Senior Fellow Roger Cliff writes for The National Interest on the strengths and weaknesses of the People's Liberation Army:

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  • Cliff on China’s Military Parades

    The Los Angeles Times quotes Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Roger Cliff on the intended message of China’s latest display of military prowess: 

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  • Cliff on the Argentine-Chinese Fighter Deal

    Defense News quotes Asia Security Initiative Nonresident Fellow Roger Cliff on the potential for Argentina and China to jointly develop fighters:

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