China and Conflict in the Pacific


2012-09-25 Richard Weitz has brought the following interview to the attention of the Second Line of Defense team.

In this interview, a Chinese expert underscores the potential impact of the first Chinese aircraft carrier on PRC operations in the Pacific.

Naval expert Li Jie said that China’s first aircraft carrier, which is mainly used for experiments and training, will soon enter service, which will mark a significant milestone in China’s naval and maritime history. The aircraft carrier will play an important role in China’s settlement of islands disputes and defense of its maritime rights and interests.

After entering service, the aircraft carrier will enhance the overall combat capability of the Chinese navy, and change its traditional naval warfare mindset. It is far more than just a large naval vessel, and its addition will bring fundamental, qualitative changes to the navy’s operational style, organizational and troop structures, military theories, logistical support, and equipment.

A battle group built around an aircraft cattier can fight a three-dimensional battle at sea. Traditional large- and medium-sized warships such as cruisers and destroyers can perform outstandingly in anti-ship, air defense, and antisubmarine operations, but are unable to establish air supremacy. A carrier battle group will not only enhance the Chinese navy’s combat and defense capabilities, but properly integrate the country’s naval and air forces, contributing significantly to the exponential growth in China’s maritime combat capability along with the constant development of information technology.

The aircraft carrier will also play a major role in consolidating China’s great power status. Its addition will bring a significant leap forward for China’s maritime forces, which include the navy, maritime law enforcement agencies, and air force. Comprehensive utilization and coordination of these forces and a carrier battle group capable of far seas operations will greatly enhance China’s defense in depth in the sea.

With the development of technologies and increase in choices, carrier battle groups have not only played a major role in wars, but also excellently fulfilled many non-warfare tasks such as fighting terrorists and pirates, maintaining the security of maritime transportation lines, and evacuating overseas citizens.

(For additional citations from this naval expert see the following:


In another piece which underscores PRC tactics in such a situation as the South China Sea, this naval expert added this comment:

Peng Guangqian, a retired admiral from the Chinese navy, said that China would be able to mobilize more than 10,000 fishing boats from some counties of the coastal province of Zhejiang to the Diaoyu islands if the order was given. General Luo said there are only 120 Japanese coast guard vessels in the disputed region. It would impossible for Japan to intercept them if China were to send just 100 fishing boats to the islands with the protection of Chinese fishery administration ships.

The PLA Navy must begin routine patrols around the islands, according to Li Jie, a senior naval researcher. To win without a fight, Li said that China needs to demonstrate its will and ability to defend its territory.

SLD’s own Ed Timperlake has focused on such Chinese approaches and developments for a considerable period of time.

And in testimony before the Congress highlighted some of the challenges being discussed by the PRC naval experts.

Timperlake PRC Espionage Testimony