China's gunboat diplomacy

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


    The primary mission of the People's Liberation Army Navy remains stopping Taiwan from declaring independence, as well as keeping U.S. forces at bay in any ensuing war. But some new or projected capabilities are meant to give Beijing wider options, whether thwarting energy blockades, deterring other powers, or protecting Chinese nationals and interests far away. Large amphibious assault ships, nuclear submarines, refueling vessels, a huge hospital ship and proposed aircraft carriers all fit ocean-going or "blue-water" roles. After decades in which China had just a rusty coastal force, the expansion of Beijing's seafaring clout since the 1990s is vexing the United States, Japan, India, Australia and others. After all, even if there is no reason to doubt China's claims that it wants to be a harmonious society in a harmonious world, nobody knows how a formidable China might one day behave. China has as much right as any trading nation to guard itself in the lawless waters off the Horn of Africa. Warships from European Union nations, the United States, India, Russia and even Malaysia are already on patrol; there is talk of South Korea and Japan joining in. It was inconceivable that China would forever outsource its maritime security to the United States or India.
    Original languageEnglish
    No.Dec 29, 2008
    Specialist publicationThe New York Times
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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