For 3,000 years, China’s overall strategy was to defend against invaders from the West and the North, but to turn its back on the Pacific. In the early 1990s, the Chief of China’s Naval Staff, Admiral Liu Huaqing, changed this almost overnight by advocating a complete turnaround in China’s military posture to take on the world’s only superpower, with a long-term naval armament programme.
The progressive realisation of a new grand strategy is planned in three steps, involving the assertion of China’s predominance over the three island chains in the Pacific, progressively rolling back the position the US has established there since the mid-19th century.
Paul O’Neill and Beatrice Heuser are joined in this episode of Talking Strategy by Christopher Yung, who holds the Donald Bren Chair of Non-Western Strategic Thought and is the Director of East Asian Studies at the US Marine Corps University, and is the author of several books and articles on the growth of China’s navy and its expansionist naval strategy.
Dr Christopher Yung, ‘The PLA Navy Lobby and Its Influence over China's Maritime Sovereignty Policy’, in Phillip Saunders and Andrew Scobell (eds.), The PLA Influence in National Security Policy Making, Stanford University Press, 2015.
M. Taylor Fravel, Active Defense: Chinese Military Strategy Since 1949, Princeton University Press, 2019.
Senior Associate Fellow
Director, Military Sciences