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This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. The People's Republic of China (PRC) is growing at an alarming rate into a regional, possibly even global superpower in the Far East. At the center of this buildup is an increasingly capable Submarine force which is being cultivated and poised for a future showdown with United States naval forces. In a volatile region ripe with natural resources, sea lanes, products and alliances, this force may soon be capable of denying U.S. Navy surface units access to the South China Sea and the waters surrounding Taiwan. Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) is a key tenet of U.S. access to this region. At present, American ASW capabilities are significantly degraded after a shift in priorities over the past decade. At present, the U.S. would be hard pressed to counter the asymmetric PRC submarine threat in this area. This problem will only worsen with time. The United States can recover from this problem if ASW is provided necessary focus regarding training and upgrading current ASW platforms. This problem is not just a Navy problem as sea denial will impact the Joint arena in the event operations in the Area of Responsibility (AOR) are required.
In order to understand this problem, it is important to understand the reasons behind the rise of the "Chinese Dragon". As the United States focuses the majority of its efforts in the War on Terror in the Middle East arena and various other hot spots throughout the world, the political and military leadership on mainland China are busily preparing themselves for a more prominent position on the world stage. The PRC is accomplishing this mission by a well-coordinated effort utilizing nearly every facet at its disposal, with the basis of this buildup being three specific factors.
The first factor is the sense of unease which prevails throughout the Pacific Rim due to economic, political and military power fluctuations, which result from declining Russian power and influence, the domestic policy goals of the Chinese and neighboring countries, and Western policy goals. In short, there is a "power vacuum" and the Chinese intend to fill it. The second factor is energy. China's energy needs have risen by over 50 per cent in the last 10 years, with the largest requirement being oil. With a domestic production unlikely to rise above 3.3 million barrels per day and a projected requirement for 6 million barrels per day by this year, the shortfall will have to be acquired internationally. Due to China's semi-landlocked geography, it will be much more economically feasible for China to bring in the oil via sealift. This vital economic link significantly increases the importance of safeguarding these Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC). The third factor is the desire to be a regional superpower. China's extensive and complex history shows a powerful nation not easily relegated to second place on the world stage, and the PRC undoubtedly feels the need to achieve regional military supremacy to assert authority over its neighbors.