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Navy to stick to defensive strategy
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The 60 years' history of the navy of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has witnessed both great triumph in battlefields and substantial progress in its weaponry and equipments.

Right from purchasing, repairing and imitating, the navy has now noticeably improved its capability of independently designing and manufacturing combat platforms, weaponry and equipment. As a result, the operational capability of the navy has seen a rapid rise.

In the early 1980s, the navy had considerably upgraded its weaponry and equipments, and acquired offshore operational capability. It was mature to adopt an offshore defense strategy, due to the rising strategic status of the offshore battlefields.

In such a background, based on Deng Xiaoping's thought on the offshore defense strategy, the navy formulated and established its plan focusing on offshore defense. This strategy endowed the navy new missions. Its duty to cooperate with the army to defend the landmass was curtailed, while undertaking the tasks of ensuring the unification of the nation, defending the integrity of the territory, as well as safeguarding the maritime rights and interests of China.

The offshore defense strategy makes clear to the international community that the missions of the Chinese navy are to defend the country's maritime rights, interests and security, safeguard its economic development, and serve its peaceful diplomacy.

China will not build an offensive navy cruising the globe, but concentrate on its offshore area. Even if in future the navy is modernized, the defensive nature of the naval strategy will not change.

In order to defend China's territory and sovereignty, and secure its maritime rights and interests, the navy decided to set its defense range as the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. This range covered the maritime territory that should be governed by China, according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as the islands in the South China Sea, which have been its territory since ancient times.

As part of the offshore defense strategy, the navy carried out defensive counterattack operations in Nansha Islands, and resumed and garrisoned seven islands and reefs. In the same period, the navy perfectly accomplished the missions of maritime scientific expeditions, naval military exercises, naval weaponry experiments, and assistance to the nation's economic development.

Along with upgraded naval equipments and strengthened operational capability, as well as the extension of China's maritime interests, the navy has accelerated its pace of modernization in a bid to more effectively fulfill its missions.

It seeks to promote the capability of capturing and maintaining the command of the sea and air in the main directions of operation in the offshore area. The capability to effectively control, when necessary, the major sea routes linking China's waters, and to operate in the seas adjacent to China's maritime territory, should also be strengthened.

In the 21st century, the modernization process of China has entered into a new phase. China's maritime security has also seen new circumstances and uncertain disputes, and faced multifaceted threats and challenges.

Furthermore, the arms development in the world is dashing at a revolutionary pace, shaping the future's information-oriented wars, which will greatly affect navies around the globe.

In the future, the struggle for the command of the sea will emerge in multi-dimensional battlefields, including the land, the sea, the air, the outer space, the cyber space, and so forth.

Based on the current force of the navy, China should maintain its offshore defense naval strategy, and guarantee the command of its seas.

With better naval weaponry and stronger operational capability, the navy could gradually extend its operational range beyond the offshore area. The offshore area, however, will still be its focus.

The navy has encouraged creative reforms in the contents and methods of military exercises, highlighted joint operation exercises, and strengthened its comprehensive operational capability of fighting battles in the offshore area, as well as its nuclear counter-attack capability.

The navy scientifically organizes its battle, tactic, specialized technical, and general exercises. The integrated exercises joining all war-fighting elements in the information age are emphasized, while exploring the training methods in complex electromagnetic environment.

The navy stresses on exercises for peaceful military operations, and has proactively joined bilateral and multilateral joint exercises.

New types of submarines, destroyers, corvettes, and airplanes are now produced. The navy has formed a weaponry system with second-generation equipments as the main body and third-generation equipments as the core.

(China Daily April 23, 2009)

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