On August 19, 2014, a Chinese J-11B fighter dangerously intercepted a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft 135 miles east of Hainan Island. Media reports speculated that the U.S. surveillance effort was focused on China’s Yulin submarine base at nearby Hainan. U.S. officials soon divulged that this was just the latest in a string of at least four unsafe encounters since March of that year.
A new CSIS study, Countering Coercion in Maritime Asia: The Theory and Practice of Gray Zone Deterrence, reviews the academic literature on deterrence, examines recent incidents of gray zone coercion, and draws lessons for policymakers. The authors hope that this analysis will provide insights to current and future leaders in the United States and East Asia about how to strengthen regional security and international order in the years ahead.