essential missions: defeating invasion from the sea, defending territorial sovereignty, andprotecting maritime rights. It primary area of operations are focused on the so‐called firstand second island chains. The first island chain refers to the line of islands that runs north–south from the Kuriles, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia.The second island chain extends further east of China’s coast and includes a line runningnorth‐south from the Kuriles through Japan, the Bonins, the Marianas, the Carolines, andIndonesia.With respect to China’s maritime domain, China pursues a defence doctrine known as“Offshore Defence” or “Near Seas Defence.”
The “Near Seas” include the Yellow Sea, EastChina Sea and South China Sea and are a PLAN priority.The PLAN is tasked with developing the capability to conduct six offensive/defensivemaritime campaigns: blockade, anti‐sea line of communication (SLOC), maritime‐landattack, anti‐ship, protection of maritime transportation, and naval base defence.China’s phenomenal economic growth has been driven by export‐orientated trade. This hasincreased China’s dependency on maritime routes to export goods and to import naturalresources. As a consequence, China has an interest in protecting vital trade routes or SLOCs.Chinese defence analysts have expressed concern about what has been termed the‘Malacca dilemma’ – the threat to China’s national security by the closure of narrow straitsor choke points in Southeast Asia.
China’s phenomenal economic growth also fueled a rising demand for resources and energy.China claims most of the South China Sea on the basis of historic rights. Chinese officialsclaim the fish and other aquatic resources, minerals on the deep seabed and hydrocarbons(oil and natural gas).Five points may be drawn from the above discussion:
Nan Li, “The Evolution of China’s Naval Strategy and Capabilities: From ‘Near Coast” and “Near Seas’ to ‘FarSeas’,” in Phillip C. Saunders, Christopher D. Yung, Michael Swaine and Andrew Nien‐Dzu Yang, eds.,
TheChinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles
(Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press,2011), 109‐140.
Thomas M. Kane,
Chinese Grand Strategy and Maritime Power
(London and Portland: Frank Cass, 2002), 127‐128.