Tag Archives: Zheng Hu

China: Birth of a Global Force?

China: Birth of a Global Force?

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In 2010, Rear Admiral Zhang Huachen, China’s East Sea Deputy Commander, said, “With our naval strategy changing now, we are going from coastal defense to far sea defense.”[1] Over the past 30 years the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has built a defensive navy operating within coastal waters, but in late 2008 the PLAN seemed to be transitioning towards becoming a global naval force—the capability to project power or diplomacy through sustained maritime operations anywhere in the world.

China’s far-sea defense—far-seas operations—comprises the maritime area 1,000 nautical miles beyond its territorial waters.[2] Based on that definition, far seas operations equate to approximately three days’ travel from China’s mainland and require at least six days of total transit time to include at-sea refueling operations. Since late 2008 the PLAN has achieved four significant metrics in the far seas:

  • Task forces deployed to the Gulf of Aden
  • A flotilla of warships operating in the Philippine Sea
  • The “Harmonious Mission” of the ship Peace Ark, and
  • The training ship Zheng He’s worldwide deployment

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