America is facing an unprecedented threat from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) as their ship has become numerically superior to the U.S. Navy. This naval growth has been unchecked and now a force in the east is giving U.S. Military planners more to plan in the coming 2020s.
What was once a fledgling navy about 20 years ago is not a fleet that is one of the biggest rivals of America on the high seas. Compared to the Russians, who were the former threat compared to China pales in comparison. Though still bigger but most technology is wrapped in secrecy, the Chinese fleet is developing alongside the Navy into an unknown future, reported USNI.
According to Toshi Yoshihara, who co-wrote a report about the subject of Chinese naval growth. The title of the report is "Which Way the Dragon?" That looks into how much more can the PLAN expand in 15-years and into the critical 2030s. The analysis will look over China's population that will be aging and facing problems of an elderly majority. How China will be facing a decision on spending on arms or care for its elderly majority.
In the report, Yoshihara made several observations on the rise and expansion of China to the 2030s. According to him, this is when the U.S Military leadership will have to make the right choices. These choices will be impactful on what is used to upgrade U.S. Forces, determining its responses in the 2030s.
What the report offers are possibilities and outcomes that stem from politics in China, economic state, domestic relations, and how well it can achieve its far-reaching ambitions, note Ex Bulletin.
The Belt Road will be one of China's important projects that will be affected by such factors of naval power.
One of the report's objectives is to account for the best response's years from now, especially for the U.S. military. A school of thought is to cultivate thinking out of the box, as China has been full of surprises of late. Seeing if the Xi Jinping regime stays or is replaced by another one, it could be that another leadership change might abandon expansionism and pursue changes in mainland China. One example is democratic reforms from its present state.
One observation is that China is a shipbuilding leader and the Chinese Communist Part with Xi's leadership. The Chinese government wants to expand farther for global influence via the PLAN and other military means.
Spending on arms is something that is affected by a slowed-down economy is under scrutiny. One big thorn is how insistent the CCP is on reclaiming Taiwan by any means, said Ross Babbage, an Australian-based security expert.
As the PLA modernizes, it won't come cheap for China at all. The PLA Air Force has been spent on a lot, but only on 4th generation planes, making it the largest conventional air force in the Indo-pacific. The CCP wants more advanced 5th gen like the F-35, it will be costlier.
Both Yoshihara and Babbage are in agreement that earlier moves of investing in vessels and planes paid off. This has caused a disparity for the U.S. and its allies to correct in time, but despite China's numerical lead which might not factor in the future, cited Pakistan Defense.
Experts and analysts agree that China's naval growth is unexpected, leaving the U.S. and allies devising means to stop a PLAN that might occupy all maritime seas.