The Chinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles, Edited by Saunders, Yung, Swaine & Yang
The Chinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles
Edited by: Phillip C. Saunders, Christopher Yung, Michael Swaine, and Andrew Nien-Dzu Yang
Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs
Published by National Defense University Press
This edited volume published by the National Defense University Press is based on a conference co-sponsored by the INSS Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs, RAND Corporation, the Chinese Council on Advanced Policy Studies (CAPS), and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP). The chapters highlight the considerable progress made by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in developing a more modern force capable of operating in waters near China, within the broader Asian region, and (for some missions) in extraregional deployments. One key insight is that the PLA Navy is developing forces and training for a range of different missions. Preparing for a Taiwan contingency in which the PLAN might confront the U.S. Navy is the most urgent and operationally demanding mission, but other tasks such as military diplomacy, nontraditional security missions like the counterpiracy deployment to the Gulf of Aden, and defense of China’s maritime claims and interests require different forces and operating concepts and are not merely “lesser-included cases” of a Taiwan contingency.
Long-standing Chinese concerns over Taiwan, territorial sovereignty in the South and East China Seas, and defense of China’s coast remain “crucially important” missions for the PLA Navy. However, consistent with Hu Jintao’s 2004 proclamation of “new historic missions” for the PLA as a whole and the subsequent emphasis on the PLA’s ability to accomplish “diverse military tasks,” the PLAN now sees a broader set of roles and missions where naval power can play a useful role. The Chinese Navy is increasingly “casting itself as the protector of China’s economy” in arguing for more resources for naval modernization. The PLA Navy still confronts some significant obstacles and is faced with serious shortfalls in its operational effectiveness. These shortcomings will require a sustained investment in technologies, personnel, equipment, and doctrinal development if the PLA Navy hopes to become an effective regional and global naval power.
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