Analyst: China Working to Make Its Navy Formidable in Face of US Aggression

China is working to turn its navy — the largest naval force in the world— into a “formidable” deterrent against US aggression, says a political commentator.

“The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is defensive in nature, meant to protect the Chinese homeland, its coastal waters, and its vital marine trade routes. The United States Navy (USN) is offensive in nature and meant to project power across the globe to promote American hegemony,” Dennis Etler, professor at University of California, told Press TV in an interview.

“The PLAN composed mostly of light tonnage ships that can patrol and protect China’s coastal waters in the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea in order to ward off any potential aggressors,” he said. “On the other hand, the US has a global reach.”

The US regularly dispatches its warships and warplanes to the South China Sea as part of what it describes as “freedom of navigation” patrols. China claims sovereignty over nearly the entire sea and has repeatedly warned Washington against military activities in the region.

“Currently, there are three carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific,” Etler said. “The build-up of the PLAN is mostly to counter these carrier strike groups. They have become a formidable deterrent with an array of anti-ship missiles and overall firepower.”

“The US will think twice before even contemplating an attack against China,” he noted.

China has managed to assemble the world’s largest naval force, and is now working to make it formidable far from its shores.

In April 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping oversaw the largest naval parade in his country’s history, saying at the time that “the task of building a powerful navy has never been as urgent as it is today.”

Some six years ago, China had 255 battle force ships in its fleet, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). As of the end of 2020, it had 360, over 60 more than the US Navy, according to an ONI forecast.

Four years from now, the PLAN will have 400 battle force ships, it predicts, while the goal of the current US navy shipbuilding plan, a goal with no fixed date, is for a fleet of 355.

Analysts says those are troubling signs for the United States as it grapples with budget and pandemic problems.

The US has already acknowledged that China is “the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system,” according to a 24-page US national security document.

In the meantime, China announced on Friday that it will increase its annual defense budget by 6.8 percent.

Outlining Beijing’s development plans and economic outlook after emergence from the coronavirus pandemic, President Xi said on Thursday that the US is the “biggest threat” to his country’s development and security.

“The biggest source of chaos in the present-day world is the United States,” the Chinese president said.

He made the remarks in an apparent response to similar comments from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who claimed that China was the main “geopolitical challenge” of the 21st century.

Ties between Washington and Beijing particularly soured under former US president Donald Trump, who clashed with China on trade, technology, and regional security, among other things.

Biden does not seem to plan to pursue a different path with Beijing, describing China as Washington’s “most serious competitor.”

Source: Press TV

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