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Dragon Week: China’s Growing Naval Power
Posted By Peter Brookes On January 20, 2011 @ 8:37 am In Security | Comments Disabled
While China has a seafaring past, in modern times, it has not been known for its navy. The ground forces of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—the collective name for China’s armed forces—has long been the dominant military service in the People’s Republic of China.
In fact, it has been said anecdotally that the country’s founder, Mao Zedong, was so focused on the army after taking power in 1949 that it was not until 1953 that he made his first tour of the Chinese navy, spending a few days, possibly reluctantly, visiting some rust-bucket frigates.
But that has changed.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is applying some spit and polish, taking in the lines, and going to sea like never before. And as such, recent developments in Chinese naval weapons systems and policies demand that we sit up and take notice of Asia’s largest maritime force. For instance:
In the end, while the Pacific has long been considered an American lake, that idea can no longer be taken for granted with the rise of China’s navy. It is certainly something we must keep in mind as we look at the future of U.S. defense budgets and naval shipbuilding programs.
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