The PRC did not establish its Navy until its regime was set up in 1949. Due to internal and external situation along with national capacity still under development, People’s Liberation Army Navy（PLAN）, premised upon littoral defense strategy, aimed at providing ground and air defense and maintaining maritime communication security. In June 1985, Deng Xiaoping declared in a meeting of the Central Military Commission that the PLA would adopt the doctrine of peaceful military buildup in replace of the past combat readiness based on the principles of“fighting early, fighting a large scale war and fighting a nuclear war.”Under Deng’s instruction, PLAN abandoned the strategy of dominating the sea through the ground, with its strategy shifting from“littoral defense”to“coastal defense.”
With China’s integrated national capacity steadily boosted by its Reform and Open Policy, China becomes aware of the importance of obtaining sea power, maritime sovereignty and maritime interests. Furthermore, China understand that only constantly in pursuit of expanding foreign trade and imported energy can China ensure the survival of its 1.3 billion people and secure Communist Party of China’s everlasting regime. Thus China can play a role in Asia Pacific Region. Consequently, PLAN is tasked to maintain security of maritime communication lines, which is also listed as a top priority of China’s military build-up.
From Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao, PLAN has been carrying out its Modernization Plan through acquiring and manufacturing new types of surface combat vessels and nuclear powered submarines, while shifting its strategic focus northern Mainland China to coastal areas of Southeast China. In the future, it is possible that PLAN will further deploy deep into Indian Ocean to provide escort for its ships responsible for transporting crude oil. In addition, PLAN is likely to move toward the goal of establishing a blue water navy capable of seizing Taiwan, precluding US-Japan joint containment, and directly challenging the US Navy.
Therefore, the study is aimed at, from the facets of politics, economics and military, examining and analyzing the changing factors and developing trends of PLAN strategies in different periods from 1949 to 2007. Besides, to reach an objective assessment and to explore what impacts will be on ROC’s national security is also another purpose. The implications of PLAN’s strategies and trends assessed show that to pursue its national interests and emerging status, China is prompting PLAN to steadily transform from a local navy to a global blue water navy, with a stronger ambition to emerge as a great power with global influence.