PRC has realized the primary reason why its long term military aggression failed to effectively solve the problem of reunifying Taiwan was the containment strategy carried out by supreme military power of the U.S. PRC also realizes that it will not have the military strength needed to challenge the U.S. in the foreseeable future as well as to secure its interests over Taiwan issues. In order to confront the dominating position of the U.S., PRC has to have the freedom of initiative and form effective deterrent posture as depicted in “anti-access strategy” in the initial stage. The “anti-access strategy” is developed in hope of both influencing US decision on whether to send military power into Taiwan straits and achieving its political as well as military goals.
In the past 10 years, PRC has purposefully acquired some specialty weapons/units such as the second artillery, strategic submarine, and air-space joint operations. Particularly, the new generation strategic submarines have the multiple capabilities of silent running, high mobility, long distance underwater cruise, independent operations, high survivability, sub-launch nuclear weapons, long distance precision strike, and counter-strike with nuclear weapons. The new generation strategic submarines have become PRC''s best nuclear intimidator and the major “leap" in PRC''s force modernization development. Especially when confronting with the strong military power of the U.S., the real capabilities of PRC''s nuclear-powered submarines will play a critical role in PRC''s “anti-access strategy”. These submarines will present the major threats to the bases on the islands along the western Pacific line of defense, the aircraft-carrier combat groups, and even the US territory. They will also serve as the very effective and useful tools in countering deterrence and penetrating containment as well as play an important “asymmetric” role.
To act in advance and prepare for the marine power of the "rising China”, the U.S. has adopted a “preemptive” strategic posture to strengthen the modem weapons for the “containment” forces on the second island chain defense line. Measures include enhancing the blocking capability of its deterrent strategy with nuclear-powered submarines, ensuring the safety of its strategic passageway and freedom of its action, and deploying more troops to Guam. All these are guided by the “deterrence” logics and to fortify the “containment”.
The “anti-access strategy” has become the principle strategy that PRC would resort to when there is a conflict between the U.S. and PRC over Taiwan issues. The anti-access strategy would influence US military actions and mitigate the effects that US military could usually produce. Moreover, it would continue to influence the development of the relations among the U.S., PRC and Taiwan. This paper describes and analyzes the development of PRC''s“anti-access” strategy, examines the strategic capabilities of PRC''s nuclear-powered submarines and the counter measures that the U.S. has adopted regarding those submarines. It is concluded that the strategic capabilities and possible applications of PRC''s nuclear-powered submarines have formed effective deterrence and counterbalance in the confrontation with the U.S.