Professor Sungmin Cho’s latest peer-reviewed article entitled China’s quiet challenges at sea: explaining China’s maritime activities in the Yellow Sea, 2010–2020

The Chinese military activities in the Yellow Sea have visibly increased. Compared to the South or East China Sea, however, China has not escalated tensions to the strategic level by employing paramilitary and nonmilitary tools of influence. The “regional hegemony” thesis can partially explain the increase of China’s military activities at the operational level. But it does not explain why China refrains from posing strategic challenges in the Yellow Sea in the way it does in the South and East China Seas. I argue that China’s defense advantages in the Yellow Sea and strategic interests in maintaining close ties with South Korea have motivated Beijing to avoid strategic crisis in the Yellow Sea. Simultaneously, however, the strategic competition with the United States has motivated China to accumulate its influence through military activities in the region. This article traces China’s military activities in the Yellow Sea and examines the Chinese discourses on this understudied region.

Article structure

  1.  Introduction
  2. Operational Increase, Strategic Restraint: The Puzzle
  3. China’s Strategic View of the Yellow Sea: The Hypotheses
  4.  The Geography and Geopolitics of the Yellow Sea: The Evidence
  5. Conclusion

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of DKI APCSS, the U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. government.