Minnie Chan

Minnie Chan

Senior Reporter, China

Minnie Chan is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a principal reporter focusing on China defense for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Areas of Expertise
China defence, diplomacy, politics
China-India border dispute: Beijing raised combat readiness to the highest level since 1987
Chinese troops on the country’s disputed border with India raised their combat readiness to the second-highest possible last week after an exchange of gunfire, but the alert was lowered after a meeting of the nations’ foreign ministers, military sources said. The increase, to second level, meant more weapons and troops were deployed to the front line, and training exercises were ramped up for commanders, officers and soldiers, a military source told the South China Morning Post. The last time such a high level was employed by troops in the restive region was in 1987, when a skirmish in the Sumdorong Chu valley pushed the two sides to the brink of war, said the person, who asked not to be nam
Beijing tells troops ‘not to fire the first shot’ in South China Sea
China has told its service personnel “not to fire the first shot” as Beijing looks to de-escalate tensions with the United States in the South China Sea. Both sides have stepped up their operations in the disputed waters, increasing the risk of incidents that spiral out of control. Still, Beijing does not want to give American hawks the opportunity to escalate things further, sources familiar with the situation told the South China Morning Post. Beijing had ordered pilots and naval officers to exercise restraint in the increasingly frequent stand-offs with US planes and warships, the sources said. Meanwhile, further details emerged about a phone conversation between the two countries’ defens
China flexing military muscle in border dispute with India
The latest tensions between China and India have further fueled both countries’ build-up of troops and weapons to assert territorial claims at their disputed border areas. There has been no official confirmation of the numbers of troops each nation has deployed, but reports have suggested that the PLA has sent multiple advanced weapon systems and refitted fighter jets for operation in high altitude areas of the Tibetan plateau. The Indian army, too, has moved several battalions from an infantry division to “operational alert areas” along the frontier, and reinforcement troops have been brought in. Hong Kong-based military expert Liang Guoliang said Beijing had deployed at least nine combine
China’s military is asking for an even bigger budget. Here’s why
China’s military leaders are fighting for a substantial increase in their budget to be announced at an upcoming parliamentary session, arguing that the world’s largest standing army needs more resources to cope with volatile challenges at home and overseas.  At the top of the list is the growing confrontation with the United States. China-US relations have hit a low point amid a trade war, spats over civil liberties and Taiwan, and conflicts over Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Disputes between Washington and Beijing over the origins of the coronavirus have added to the toxic brew. From Beijing’s viewpoint, the military threats are on its doorstep with US bombers runnin
China unsure if it should unveil its new stealth bomber this year
China’s new generation strategic bomber is likely to be ready for delivery this year, but Beijing is said to be undecided about unveiling it at a complex time in regional relations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Military sources said the Xian H-20 subsonic stealth bomber – expected to double the country’s strike range – could make its first public appearance at China’s largest air show, in the southern city of Zhuhai in November, if the pandemic is sufficiently under control. “The Zhuhai Airshow is expected to become a platform to promote China’s image and its success in pandemic control – telling the outside world that the contagion did not have any big impacts on Chinese defense enterpri
Could the pandemic trigger conflict in the South China Sea?
As the USS Barry, one of the US’ most advanced destroyers, sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday last week, an officer on board posted a message on Facebook: “They don’t call us the Finest Forward Deployed Destroyer for nothing! Your Bulldogs always have the watch – together, we ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific!” Based in Yokosuka, Japan, the guided-missile destroyer was no stranger to the sensitive channel separating Taiwan and mainland China. In fact, this was its second passage this month through the 112-mile-wide waterway – defined as part of the South China Sea under international protocol. As the Covid-19 global health crisis continues to rage, infecting more than 3 million p
US Navy launches live-fire missiles in ‘warning to China’
The US Navy was targeting China with live-fire missile tests in the Philippine Sea last week, sending a message that it was up to the challenge of the Chinese military’s new advanced systems, military analysts said. In the drill in waters east of the Philippines on Thursday, the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry launched a medium-range Standard Missile-2, the US Seventh Fleet said on its Facebook page. It was accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh, which also launched an SM-2 during the drill. The Philippines Sea is separated from the disputed South China Sea, a major flashpoint in the US-China rivalry, by the Philippines.  Beijing claims almost all of the energy-rich South Ch
How China’s military took a frontline role in the coronavirus crisis
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has taken on some of the country’s heaviest responsibilities in helping fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, military experts said. Since Beijing declared the highest level of medical emergency in Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, on January 25, more than 10,000 personnel have been sent into the area. The PLA was also armed with more power than local governments to control medical supplies, a sign of the central government’s determination to contain the spread of the virus. “The military has been well trained to give a quick response to any critical events,” Beijing-based military observer Zhou Chenming said. “All the officers
China’s first homemade aircraft carrier aims at ‘domination’ in South China Sea
In a ceremony attended by President Xi Jinping, China’s first home-built aircraft carrier officially entered service on Tuesday. The commissioning of the warship, called the Shandong, is a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to build up its naval power. A commentary published by a social media account affiliated with Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily said the Shandong will be deployed to the South China Sea, where “it is very likely that it will have face-to-face encounters with foreign military vessels.”   “The Shandong is aimed at achieving domination in both the air and sea,” the Wednesday commentary said. The article did not name any nation, but Beijing has repeatedly
China’s new supersonic arsenal could give bomber force greater reach
China’s new H-6N strategic bomber could reach a maximum strike range of 6,000km (3,728 miles), military sources said. The H-6 – which is based on the Russian cold war era Tupolev 16 (known to Nato as the Badger) that went into service in 1954 – has been the mainstay of China’s bomber force since the 1970s. The H-6K have played a key role in Beijing’s “island encirclement” drills over the self-ruled Taiwan since early 2018. The military exercises were designed by Beijing to send a warning to the island’s independence-leaning government. The latest variant of the plane was designed to carry CJ-100 supersonic cruise missiles or the WZ-8 supersonic stealth spy drone, which were seen by the publi