Aside from a strong national defense, world peace is now part of China’s official military mission. Serving both, its fleet could eventually resemble the U.S. Navy.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) development is best understood as proceeding on two separate but related tracks, or vectors. The first is its primary wartime mission, the defense of China proper and its sovereign territory. In this mission the PLAN is a major, but not the only, player in what would be a joint campaign (the Chinese air force and Second Artillery Corps also play leading roles) to defeat an approaching naval force bent on attacking China or intervening on behalf of Taiwan. Doctrinally, the PLA considers this contingency as “offshore active defense.” 1 It is more popularly known in the West by its U.S.-coined term, “anti-access and area-denial.”