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
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
Fatal crash highlights Chinese air force’s flaws
Engine flaws and a lack of training have been identified as the likely causes of two accidents that hit the Chinese air force in the space of little over a week – one of which claimed the lives of three airmen. Deaths from the crashes, which happened within a span of 10 days, included a helicopter pilot who took part in the National Day grand parade at the start of the month. A number of military sources said that as the air force stepped up its exercises, part of President Xi Jinping’s call to strengthen the “combat readiness” of the military, more accidents would happen as increased drills exposed technical problems and inadequate training. “[If these problems are not resolved], it is fore
Duterte touts ‘suicide mission’ after Chinese sail near disputed island
The Philippines says it will prepare for a “suicide mission” if Beijing ever touches an island claimed by both countries in the South China Sea. President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday called on Beijing to leave alone the island of Thitu, known as Pagasa in Filipino, in a strong protest against a growing Chinese presence in the disputed waters. “I will not plead or beg, but I am just telling you that lay off the Pagasa because I have soldiers there. If you touch it, that’s a different story. I will tell the soldiers ‘prepare for suicide mission’,” Duterte said in a speech, according to Reuters. Duterte made the speech after the Philippines’ foreign ministry accused China of violating its sove
How one pilot’s death created the modern Chinese military
Few people know the name Wang Wei. But this Chinese pilot’s death in 2001 was the driving force behind the modernization of China’s military. The 33-year-old was killed 18 years ago when his fighter jet collided with a US spy plane mid-air near Hainan Island on the southern tip of China. While there was no official commemoration of the anniversary of Wang’s death on Monday, analysts said the significance of the incident for the People’s Liberation Army could not be underestimated. On April 1, 2001, a US EP-3E reconnaissance aircraft was challenged by two PLA J-8II fighter jets, one of which was piloted by Wang. Wang’s jet hit the US plane during the third of a series of close passes, crashin
How China’s military helped the nation open up
When late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping gave the order for more than 300,000 People’s Liberation Army troops to cross from southwest China into Vietnam in February 1979, there was more than regional rivalry at stake. Within a month, the PLA had occupied more than a dozen cities in northern and southern Vietnam, overcoming the heavily outnumbered Vietnamese troops and militia. Then on March 16, China suddenly withdrew all of its troops, declaring that it had “successfully given Vietnam a lesson.” On the surface, Beijing said it was punishing Hanoi for helping Moscow advance its political influence in the region at the expense of China. But a Chinese military historian, who also served as a
Trade war hits China’s aircraft carrier program
A trade war with the United States has weighed on China’s program to build aircraft carriers to boost its naval power to rival the US Navy, two independent military sources told the South China Morning Post. China reportedly plans to have four aircraft carriers in service by 2030. But the building of its fourth vessel has been postponed, a person with knowledge of China’s carrier program told the Post, citing “the ongoing trade war with the US.” Work on China’s aircraft carrier program has slowed as trade tensions with the US, as well as a military overhaul, have taken their toll on the program’s budget, military sources said. The development illustrates the far-reaching impact of the US-Chi
China offers an olive branch by letting an US warship dock
An American carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan docked in Hong Kong on Wednesday. That may not sound like a big deal, but allowing the US warship to come to Hong Kong signals China’s will to sooth months of tensions between the two nations. It’s a far cry from the end of September, when an American warship and a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of colliding as the US carried out a “freedom of navigation” exercise near waters China claims as its own. Military analysts said the fact that the ships had been given approval to dock indicated that Beijing was trying to calm things down ahead of a meeting between President Xi Jinping of China and President Donald Trump at the G2