While China has sometimes been dismissed as a continental power with no modern maritime history to speak of, closer examination reveals impressive potential.
The most vital foundation of China's maritime development is the export juggernaut that has emerged in the last two decades. Chinese shipbuilding has witnessed stunning growth to keep apace of the new national trading ethos. In addition, China's energy and other natural resource requirements demand that Beijing develop global ties from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America.
These commercial rationales for maritime development are supported by weighty issues of sovereignty and security. Thus, the Taiwan and South China Sea issues also provide strong justification within China's emerging maritime strategy for a more robust presence on the seas. The concrete manifestations of China's new maritime outlook are evident in the new container ships and frigates now emerging at a rapid pace from China's shipyards.
The China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) supports the research needs of the U.S. Navy and was established in 2006 to increase knowledge and understanding of the maritime dimensions of China's rise. CMSI will conduct research along the following vectors:
- Global commerce
- Law of the sea
- Maritime technologies
- Merchant marine
- Naval development
- Naval diplomacy
The U.S. and China maritime relationship will form an essential bedrock for maritime security in the 21st century.
Based at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island, CMSI is located at the nexus of the academic, policy, and operational communities. NWC has pioneered strategic thinking about maritime issues for over one hundred years. NWC contributes a broad based, multi-dimensional research, analysis and gaming environment with significant linguistic and technological capabilities.
The close proximity of many of the nation's leading academic institutions offers the potential for unmatched intellectual synergies. Indeed, CMSI is seeking collaborative partnerships with other government research centers, civilian academic institutions, and other appropriate organizations. Such partnerships will facilitate cutting edge research on China's maritime development.
Prof Peter Dutton
Director, China Maritime Studies Institute
U.S. Naval War College
686 Cushing Road
Newport, Rhode Island 02841