RUSI International Sea Powers Conference: A European Net Assessment of the PLA(N)

This conference will lead a European examination of China’s projected intentions and real naval strength

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locationRUSI Whitehall



Currently, the predominant European understanding of China is seen purely through an economic lens.  As such, the Asia-Pacific security dynamic, and that inherent relationship to European security, has become increasingly subservient to desires for trade and prosperity by European bodies.

By contrast, other states in Asia are often represented as conducting reckless weapons and platform procurement that, according to the popular media, destabilises the region.  Yet the pace and scale of China’s own force development in the maritime domain is often underreported and misunderstood, obscured by persuasive rhetoric from Beijing.  By providing reality, perspective and breadth on the disproportionate Chinese naval expansion, the conference seeks to update the orthodoxy on the Asia-Pacific security balance for the European audience.

The conference will also examine and contrast Chinese force development against the planned growth of other Asia-Pacific states, to determine at what point China will achieve competitive advantage over both individual states and a coalition of willing participants.  It will identify key milestones of Chinese naval development from an expeditionary carrier strike deployment, through achievement of amphibious operations capable of invasion against a contested island, to independent submarine operations at a peer-adversary level.

Topics covered include:

  • A Net Assessment of Chinese Naval Power 2005 – 2030
  • China’s Shipbuilding and Technology: industrial reality
  • Chinese Maritime Capability Milestones
  • Chinese Maritime Doctrine, Training, Operations and Intent
  • The Sino-Europe Paradox: military threat or economic partner?Agenda


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