08 September 2017
China’s navy has remained firmly focused on protecting its northern shores in the last two years – shifting its attention only briefly at the height of tensions in the South China Sea.
But military observers said the People’s Liberation Army Navy was also conducting more drills further afield to raise its international profile and extend its reach.
Collin Koh, a maritime security expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said the Chinese military was also responding to shows of force by the U.S. Navy and its allies off the peninsula in recent months, especially those by U.S. carrier strike groups.
Koh said the Chinese Navy was gradually sailing further afield, including a six-month trip this year to more than 20 countries involved in Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative”.
Koh said the three factors were driving the offshore push.
“One is to protect China’s overseas interests, especially … those related to energy security and trade in the Middle East and Africa,” he said.
“[Another reason] is to generally project force as a way to promote China’s stature as a global maritime power; and the third is to contribute more public common goods in its more active role as a global security actor.”
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 08/09/2017