Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, April 27, 2009

A navy to match its economy

China makes its debut as a world sea power

"At dawn Thursday, a long row of grey-hulled warships will sail past this port city [Qingdao], making an unprecedented display of China's growing naval might and a statement about its new willingness to use it around the world. Officially, Thursday's fleet review here marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy, which was born in 1949, when a unit of nine warships defected from the Kuomintang to join the Communists.

"But the display of force, which is to include the first public showing of China's nuclear submarine fleet, will also serve notice that the country has arrived as a global naval power. It's a moment of obvious pride for this nation of 1.3 billion people, and one of quiet concern for some of its neighbours. Beijing also has recently confirmed that it is moving toward developing its first aircraft carrier, though that milestone is likely several years away...

"Beijing has spent billions modernizing and adding new vessels to its fleet, which is believed to include as many as 10 nuclear-powered submarines...

"But China still remains fiercely guarded about the actual strength of its naval forces. While many foreign warships visiting Qingdao this week, including the destroyer USS Fitzgerald, opened themselves up to military and civilian visitors, Chinese ships have been kept strictly off limits..."

Chinese navy sails onto world stage

"The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was making final preparations for Thursday's international fleet parade in the eastern port of Qingdao to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding.

"The parade will feature 21 navy ships from other countries...

"Major-General Zhang Shiping... said inviting foreign navies to China is a process of communication and exchange...

"In fact, 'inviting in and going out', which has been used to describe China's foreign trade, has been increasingly applied by the Chinese army, especially by the PLAN, in its relations with foreign military..."

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