The Gunner Professional Journal, October-December 2012

‘China’s assertiveness over the South China Sea is palpable.‘

Stuart McMillan, adjunct senior fellow, the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Canterbury

Stuart McMillan’s article in the NBR on 20 July this year, quoted from above, is but one of a series of articles in the Western press on China in our part of the world. These articles include disputes in the South China Sea, an increasing blue-water naval and strategic missile capability, and significant economic and diplomatic activity in the South Pacific islands. These themes have been explored in the media in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Australia and New Zealand, and no doubt in the Asian press, and by governments around the Pacific.

The United States is in the process of reacting to China with President Obama’s announcement of a change in strategic focus to the Western Pacific, a request for a naval carrier base in Fremantle, and the appearance of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the recent South Pacific Forum, amongst other things.

The initial articles on the RNZA Professional Journal Website will focus on what the future holds for New Zealand, and the guns, as this new theatre of great power rivalry develops over the next 10 to 20 years.

The first article is from Josh Wineera, from the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at Massey University. The article explores China’s range of activities in the South Pacific and proposes a third leg to the rivalry of the two Pacific powers: an influencing by the South Pacific Island nation states including New Zealand. Can today’s Great Powers avoid a Cold War in a warm Pacific?

The second article is a summary of the current defence White Paper and the defence capability plan which looks out beyond 2020 in terms of our military response and capability to changes in our region. Defence White Paper 2010 and Defence Capability Doctrine.

There is a gap in view between the two papers and the prime question is what should the New Zealand Army do about it in preparation, and in particular what we do in terms of artillery and indirect fire support?