The PLA and regional security

The end of the Cold War has left a fluid situation in the Asia- Pacific region. The 'rise of China' question, which centres on its fast growth in economic and military power, seems to have made the situation even more unpredictable. 1 While some Asian countries worry about China's long-term intentions, China itself has also developed a pessimistic image of the new world order, which, it believes, is overtly dominated by the US and the west, even though the Chinese have acknowledged the fact that for the first time since the nineteenth century China has been relieved of any major military threat. China can no longer take shelter behind bipolarity on many concrete issues such as human rights and weapons sales. The conflict in interests between China and the west has been brought into the open and intensified. This has led to a conspiracy theory popular in China that the west will step up challenges to China's domestic stability and territorial sovereignty in order to slow down China's economic growth. In view of this many PLA strategists have regarded the end of the first Cold War as ushering in a long period of cold peace, and have responded with a call to accelerate the country's military modernisation. On the other hand, they also see that in the era of multipolarity, the lines between friends and potential adversaries are not clear-cut. War can be avoided at least in the short run, giving the PLA a vital breathing space to overcome its dangerous transitional vacuum in hardware development.


A REALPOLITIK PLA?

How does the PLA perceive its strategic security environment? This question has no simple answers. The direction of China's

-201-

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The Armed Forces of China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Armed Forces of Asia i
  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables, Figures and Maps viii
  • Preface ix
  • Glossary of Acronyms xi
  • Introduction xv
  • 1 - Embracing Revolution in Military Affairs 1
  • 2 - Positioning the Pla for a 21st-Century War 28
  • 3 - In Search of High-Tech Military Power 56
  • 4 - Sharpening the Nuclear Sword 85
  • 5 - The Build-Up of an Offensive Air Force 118
  • 6 - The Ambition for a Bluewater Navy 160
  • The Pla and Regional Security 201
  • Conclusion 227
  • Notes 238
  • Bibliography 262
  • Index 282
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