Home > Article, Asia-Pacific, China, Clash of Civilization > China’s growing naval power: Japan jittery

China’s growing naval power: Japan jittery


China’s growing naval power: Japan jittery

  • Before 2009 the PLAN has been a littoral force, only capable of defending Chinese territorial waters.
  • Recently South Korea announced that it wishes to deploy F35B fighters on its Dokdo class carrier. Although the Dokdo was built as a helo-carrier, the carrier was already designed for the deployment of fighter planes.
  • Just like South Korea, the Japanese have a helicopter carrier, the Hyuga, and are building a second one that should enter service in 2011. The story for Japan is similar to that of South Korea, even though it’s a helicopter carrier, the possibility exist to equip it with aircraft when needed

Warships off Okinawa and other incidents with an increasingly far-roaming and competent Chinese navy likely a harbinger of shocks to come

Tokyo’s shock, horror and alarm at the sighting a few days ago of a flotilla of 10 Chinese warships off Japan’s southern Okinawa island is undoubtedly contrived.

It has been evident for the past two decades as it invested huge amounts of money, time and effort into military modernization that Beijing intends to be able to project military power that supports its growing economic and diplomatic supremacy.

Just a few days before the latest encounter, a helicopter from a Chinese warship “buzzed” a Japanese naval vessel that was keeping watch on the exercises.

And in the past few years there have been other incidents with an increasingly far-roaming and competent Chinese navy.

Last year a Chinese submarine collided with the sonar gear being trailed by the American ship USS John S. McCain near the Philippines.

In 2006 an undetected Chinese submarine surfaced within firing range of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk.

Indeed, the joint exercise 10 days ago off Japan involving two Chinese Kilo-class nuclear-powered submarines and eight surface warships, including two missile-armed destroyers and three frigates, is a harbinger of shocks yet to come.

This flotilla and its exercise to perfect coordinated actions at sea have the hallmarks of training the battle groups that will be necessary to protect China’s coming fleet of aircraft carriers.

Beijing has decided that although aircraft carriers and their defending battle groups are difficult to operate effectively, they are such a potent and visible demonstration of the ability to project military power and enforce political will that China must have them.

China’s first aircraft carrier is expected by western military analysts to come into service in 2015. By 2020 Beijing may have in its navy half a dozen carriers armed with the latest ground-attack and air supremacy fighter aircraft.

China’s development of a blue water, high seas navy on what was little more than a few coastal gunboats two decades ago has been a brilliant piece of gamesmanship.

Beijing, quite rightly, felt it necessary to keep its neighbours and Washington — whose navy has been the guarantor of Asian security for more than 60 years — guessing about its activities and intentions.

While China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and associated military agencies have been given budgets with annual double-digit increases with which to buy, develop or steal the most modern military equipment available, Beijing has publicly insisted it is intent upon a “peaceful rise.”

Only recently, now that it has a fleet of upwards of 60 submarines and the confidence to assert itself on the world stage, has Beijing started showing the teeth behind its smile.

Despite its efforts at obfuscation, Beijing’s evident determination to build and operate a navy capable of projecting power throughout Asia has worried China’s neighbours.

It has prompted an arms race in Asia, especially with the acquisition by China’s neighbours of submarines, which because of their stealth and multiple weapons systems offer great deterrent value.

India, which sees itself as Beijing’s main regional rival, is pursuing a massive naval expansion and modernization program designed to keep ahead of China.

Australia is doubling its submarine fleet to 12. Malaysia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea are all in the process of acquiring or expanding their submarine fleets.

Without any apparent appreciation of the irony, Chinese military officers and associated academics have been warning at regional defence conferences in recent weeks that this arms race, especially the widespread acquisition of submarines, is inherently destabilizing in Asia.

A succinct picture of what is driving Asian governments to beef up their submarine fleets came earlier this month when, with more irony, Senior Colonel Chen Zhou, a researcher with the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences, was trying to assuage the concerns among the governments of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“ASEAN countries should be assured that China’s development of its navy is only to maintain the country’s own maritime interests and regional peace and stability,” Chen said.

Well, since Beijing’s claimed “maritime interests” include disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia over the ownership of islands and submarine resources in the South China Sea, that was hardly reassuring. Japan increasingly alarmed by China’s growing naval power. By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver SunApril 21, 2010. jmanthorpe@vancouversun.com

  • Today the Daily Telegraph reports yet another sign of its development of a blue water navy with a global strategic reach capable of threatening American and British cities: a huge underground naval base on the well-placed island of Hainan that, with good reason, is believed to be the home of its latest class of nuclear submarines equipped with nuclear weapons.
  • Particularly noteworthy is the ability of departing and incoming submarines to leave and enter the base underwater, thus significantly enhancing their ability to remain hidden from prying eyes.
  • “In a decade, there could be two carriers, larger destroyers, and, even ship- and submarine-launched anti-ship ballistic missiles [ASBMs] in the mix
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  1. turk
    April 24, 2010 at 2:48 am

    covert and overt operations against Pakistan i found some genuine concerns and here i am going to write one by one hopefully you take them serious in your campaigns to inform every PAKISTANI AND MUSLIM
    1. Awareness of Health and Safety issues including Water and good contamination (as you know that healthy Nation can make, defend and develop the country)
    2. Geopolitical awareness to our public on all lever and how our political system works
    3. Awareness of resources of Pakistan to the all GOVT. Departments, Civil, and Private of Pakistan
    4. Give them the suggestion how to find and utilize the resources
    5. How to create the awareness of politics and religious awareness in youth and young generation
    6.bring the educated people in politics rather than feudal, classics and familialism, braaderism
    7. Modern Islamic literature, values, structure and history in our syllabus in our school and it should be compulsory
    8. Awareness of mullavism, fundamentalism,and extremism in general public and introduction in local news papers as well as websites
    9. Constitutional amendments and strict law against breach of health and safety regulations, reforms, contamination of food, water, house holed and health products (e.g milk in the water, put the water in the meat, mixture of stone in the lentils and daals and rice, wheat, corn, and other daily use products from A_z
    10, Make sure who ever caught put into trail without any discrimination, exemption, and autocracy )(e.g unfortunately our presidents didn’t face the trials yet on many case including many ministers and parliamentarian

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