STRATFOR 700 Lavaca Street, Suite 900 Austin, TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300www.stratfor.com
Hsociety domestically, from nearbyneighbors or through the great Silk Road.In recent years, however, China has begto develop a blue-water expeditionarynavy, brought on by its transition from anagricultural economy to an industrialeconomy. China now needs resources f beyond its shores as well as new andsecure trade routes, and it must look tothe sea to achieve these imperatives. Butdeveloping and deploying an oceangoingforce with global reach will not be easy
This is the first part of a three-part seriesistorically, China has been very much a land power, getting most of what it needs for its agriculturalunrom.on China’s development of a blue-waternavy.inese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will mark its 60th anniversary April 23 with a fleetreview off Qingdao, the headquarters of the PLAN’s North Sea Fleet. The highlights of the review will
centered along the Yellow and Yangtze riversand protected by a combination of natural features, such as mountains and deserts, and acquiredndts own natural resources to support itspopulation. What it couldn’t get or produce at home was brought in primarily by land. Chineselked thetayed primarily within the confinesof the South China Sea, with some excursions into the Indian Ocean. While this period saw theYuan Dynasty in the 13th century, when China was part of the Mongol Empire, Kublai Khanattempted to use sea power to extend the empire’s reach to Japan and Southeast Asia. This brief two-tesThe Chbe the destroyers Haikou (171) and Wuhan (169), both of which are scheduled to return to China fromdeployment off the Somali coast sometime in late March. The Somali anti-piracy operation representsanother step in an expanding role for the PLAN that is driven in part by China’s changing economy.This new role places Beijing on a maritime collision course with its neighbors, including Japan andIndia, and ultimately with the United States.
Limiters on China’s Naval Developm
China historically has been a land power, with its corebuffer zones like Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Manchuria. As such, China has developed overtime as an enclosed continental power surrounded by potential enemies, defending interminable laborders and harassed along the coast by regional rivals.For much of its history, China was largely able to rely on iinternational trade focused on the land routes into Central Asia and beyond, following the great SiRoad. This further focused Chinese military power on preserving these land routes, and it reducfunding — and the need — for a heavy focus on maritime power.From the ninth through the 14th century, Chinese maritime trade sestablishment of Chinese trading settlements in Southeast Asia, the Chinese state did not pursue amajor colonizing effort or seek to establish a true empire through these trading ports. The Chineselandmass provided ample space and resources. As kingdoms in China rose and fell, the interveningdynasties and competing states were focused firmly on the shifting land borders and terrestrialthreats.During thedecade effort was abandoned, however, due to military failures and raw economics; the security andextension of the western land-based trade routes allowed the Yuan Dynasty to carry out whatevertrade it wished all the way to Europe. While Chinese states had been trading along the Silk Roadroutes for centuries, with varying degrees of security and control, under the Mongol empire the rouwere once again secured and expanded.