The Strategic Implications of China's Naval Modernization
McMahon, Ryan Kelley
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THE STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS FOR CHINA'S NAVAL MODERNIZATION Abstract by Ryan Kelley McMahon, Ph.D. Washington State University May 2013 Chair: Martha Cottam The People's Republic of China (PRC) has produced staggering levels of economic growth since Deng Xiaoping's introduction of the Four Modernizations. Along with this economic growth, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has focused a great deal of attention on the modernization of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in last few decades. These efforts at naval modernization have coincided with the discovery of large energy supplies off the coast of China. It is believed that much of the focus on naval modernization is directly tied to the economic necessity of dominating these resources. Since the CCP has tied much of their political legitimacy to their ability to guide the PRC's economic growth, it is critical to the CCP that they secure large energy supplies. As the PLAN increases their capabilities at sea, there is a growing fear in East Asia that the PLAN will become more aggressive in dealing with territorial disputes and regional rivals. It is feared that the PLAN's pursuit of a strengthened naval capability, with the intention to dominate regional energy supplies and more effectively assert the PRC's foreign policy goals, will destabilize the security of this critical region.