Naval modernization is a key component of China’s military program and seen as crucial to realizing President Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” of a strong and prosperous China. A white paper released last year announces ambitious goals: By 2020, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is supposed to the second-best in the world.
In this report, Wikistrat’s David K. Schneider analyzes China’s capabilities and intentions for projecting power into its near and far seas. He argues that China is unlikely to emerge as a new global maritime hegemon or peer competitor of the United States anytime soon. But it could emerge as a peer challenger in East Asia or in other theaters in cooperation with another regional peer competitor such as Russia — or even on its own, should the U.S. be occupied in more than one theater at the same time.
Beijing is looking to a future in which China takes its place as a major world military power commensurate with its economic power and global interests.
Key factors that could derail China’s grand maritime strategy, according to Schneider, include an end to its entente with Russia, conflict between the Communist Party and the army, and a more comprehensive American effort to block Chinese expansion.
Click here or on the cover image to download the report.
About the author
Dr. David K. Schneider
Wikistrat Senior Analyst
Associate Professor of Chinese at University of Massachusetts Amherst