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This important study has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction - this is not a print replica, and thus it is suitable for all devices. China's growing economic dynamism has made it a powerful actor in the globalized economy. Continued growth of China's economy requires guaranteed sea access to foreign energy resources and markets. In response to the need for sea access, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) is undergoing an expansion and force modernization process intended to ensure China's access to vital sea lines of communications (SLOCs). In recent history, post-Meiji Restoration Japan and early twentieth century Germany provide two examples of the impact of rising economic powers with expansive maritime strategies. In both cases, efforts by regional competitors to maintain relatively superior naval forces led to heightened tensions and, ultimately, war. Through the unintended promotion of regional naval arms races, both the Empire of Japan and the German Empire contributed to the destabilization of their respective region's security. This thesis argues that, based on the historical record of competitive naval growth, an expanding PLAN will destabilize East Asia as China challenges the dominance of the leading naval power in the Western Pacific - the United States Navy. However, China's rise differs from the rise of Japan and Germany in important ways. Diplomatic efforts by Washington and Beijing to identify shared maritime interests can serve to alleviate the destabilizing effects associated with naval growth. Additionally, security tensions associated with naval arms races may be mitigated through a thorough U.S. analysis of the actual threat posed by China's growing naval power.
Throughout the world, the United States guarantees the freedom of the seas. That guarantee ensures open access to energy resources that fuel modern economies, as well as the free exchange of the finished goods those economies create. Toward that end, the United States has developed the most technologically capable navy in the world. Capable of operations worldwide, no other navy challenges the dominance of the United States Navy (USN) on the high seas. However, some analysts see a growing PLAN as a potential threat to the USN's dominance in the Western Pacific and beyond. In order to accurately assess the nature and degree of threat that the PLAN presents to the USN, it is necessary to take into account both the reasons behind China's drive to establish a more capable navy and the potential ramifications of a larger PLAN for Asian security. Once the driving interests behind the PLAN's modernization are understood, American policymakers and strategic planners will be better equipped to devise an appropriate response. For the USN, the key area of concern is how to respond to the PLAN's increased force structure. Historically, two periods in modern history demonstrate the effects of the expansion of a rising power's naval force structure alongside that of the navy of a geopolitically dominant state - post-Meiji Japan and the Second German Reich. An analysis of the rise of the Imperial Japanese Navy prior to World War II and the rise of the Imperial German Navy prior to World War I will present general themes that occur over the course of significant naval arms expansions.
Contents: The Growth of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy * 2019 U.S. Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment