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Defence & Aerospace

Chinese navy buildup no threat to US, but a possible threat to Japan

China Navy CartoonSCMP’s report entitled “As China’s navy grows, end of Deng’s dictum of keeping a low profile?” says, “Obama’s re-election means he can continue the strategic shift towards the Asia-Pacific region that started during his first term, which will see 60 per cent of US warships move to the region by the end of the decade.

That’s a plan Beijing believes is intended to contain a rising China. It’s a plan that will lead to two maritime giants congesting a shrinking ocean.”

In my post “Arms Race between China and America” on March 5, 2012, I said, “Obama’s unprecedented participation in the ASEAN summit meeting on November 11, 2011 and announcement of America’s return to Asia, encouraged China’s neighbours to confront China in their border disputes with China.”

On Chinese TV screens, we saw how upset Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao looked after the summit when he told the press that the South China Sea disputes were not a topic of the summit, but since the disputes were talked about at the summit, he had to say something.

That caused China to begin its arms race with the United States. It has since replaced its late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s practice of taoguang yanghui, literally the practice of “keeping a low profile and hiding brightness”, with intensive publicising of its weapons development.

I said in my post, “China has further stepped up its military buildup since then. It conducted two further tests of its aircraft carrier, launched its third 071 landing platform dock (LPD) in September 2011 and a fourth during the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival in early 2012.

The Festival is the most important holiday for Chinese people and normally, nobody worked on the holiday (071 LPD is a 20,000-ton amphibious transport dock similar to the US-built San Antonio-class LPD).

“In addition, China put its own satellite GPS system into trial operation and declared its plan to launch six more satellites in 2012 to improve the system. Guided by this system, China’s missiles and bombs will be much more accurate.”

The six satellites have indeed been launched, and the system is now in operation to cover the Asia-Pacific region.

Cary Huang, who wrote the SCMP report, thinks that like Theodore Roosevelt and Kaiser Wilhelm, Chinese leaders seem to be influenced by the key message in American historian Alfred Thayer Mahan’s weighty work “The Influence of Sea Power on History, 1660-1783” that “sea power is the means to ensuring commercial, political and military access to vital regions.”

For Cary Huang, that was why “Delivering his keynote policy speech at the 18th party congress held in Beijing in November, Hu (Jintao) for the first time declared China’s ambition to ‘build itself into a maritime power’.”

In fact, Hu’s moderate description “a maritime power” was only for the outside world in order not to make outsiders feel threatened.

For insiders, according to an annual report of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), China’s State Council made a decision in 2003 that China shall become a maritime superpower.

If the US wants to remain the only superpower in the world, Huang is perhaps correct to say that China’s plan “will lead to two maritime giants congesting a shrinking ocean.”

However, Huang also mentions in his article, “becoming a ‘maritime power’ is the ‘Chinese dream’ – the way to end what has been called a ‘century of humiliation’ at the hands of foreign powers.”

If that is the Chinese dream, China’s development of its navy is defensive. I do not see any of America’s intention to bully China, and believe that Obama’s strategic shift towards the Asia-Pacific region is also defensive, because the US fears that China’s rise will perhaps constitute a threat to it.

Therefore, I believe there will not be conflict between the two giants, even if China has become a maritime superpower, unless the US is so stupid as to join Japan in fighting against China for some small uninhabited isles.

Even China or Japan should not be so foolish as to start a war for those isles in the first place.

Taking a hard-line position is one thing, but fighting a real war is another. Chinese and Japanese economies are closely related. A war between them will do much harm to their interests.

However, as the US says that the Isles are covered by the security treaty between it and Japan, China is making preparations to counter that.

Judging by China’s recent achievements in its weapon development, its focus has been on its air capability, while it’s navy ranks second. We saw China’s successful development of the J-15 carrier-based fighter, test flights of the J-31 stealth fighter and the J-18 VTOL stealth fighter and taxi test of the Y-20 transport aircraft within quite a short period of time.

Moreover, Chinese media published repeated reports and commentaries and organised a lecture tour on Luo Yang, the engineer in charge of the J-15 fighter project, who died on job on China’s aircraft carrier after the successful landing of the J-15 on the carrier. They call on people to learn from Luo’s dedication to the country by developing aircraft.

That clearly shows the tremendously great importance China attaches to its air force.

In Chinese media reports, it is often mentioned that the US relies on its air force in war, and that if China has made its air force stronger and more advanced than the US, the US will have nothing to rely upon.

Compared with the air force, navy development is a little slower. China’s first two 052D Aegis destroyer were launched respectively in August and December 2012, and there have to be two more for its first aircraft carrier to form an aircraft carrier battle group.

Chinese strategists hold that China has to develop a strong navy to protect its trade lifeline, but there is no urgent need for that as the US is now maintaining proper order in the sea satisfactorily.

I believe China will build its nuclear aircraft carriers gradually one by one, and it will take two decades for China to become a maritime superpower comparable with the United States.

However, China’s navy may become much stronger than Japan’s soon. As China and Japan have the same trade lifeline. Japan may be in great trouble if the navy China has developed to protect China’s lifeline cut Japan’s lifeline.

Due to historical enmity caused by Japanese invasion of China and the maritime territorial dispute over the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, the growth of the Chinese navy may become a threat to Japan if Sino-Japanese relations sour.

SCMP’s report: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1119363/chinas-navy-grows-end-dengs-dictum-keeping-low-profile

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee


6 thoughts on “Chinese navy buildup no threat to US, but a possible threat to Japan

  1. China will become the new Japan just like Japan became the new China after World War Two.
    China is becoming more important to the United States than Japan. The only difference then is that in the postwar period both nations changed directions politically and presently that is not the case.


    Posted by Drama | January 5, 2013, 11:07 pm


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