The rapid modernization of the Chinese Navy is a well-documented reality of the post-Cold War world. In two decades, the People's Liberation Army Navy has evolved from a backward force composed of obsolete platforms into a reasonably modern fleet whose growth is significantly shaking the naval balance in East Asia. The rationale behind China's contemporary rise at sea remains, however, difficult to grasp and few people have tried to see how the current structure of the international system has shaped Chinese choices. This book makes sense of Chinese priorities in its naval modernization in a 'robust' offensive realist framework. Drawing on Barry Posen's works on sources of military doctrine, it argues that the orientation of Beijing's choices concerning its naval forces can essentially be explained by China's position as a potential regional hegemon. Yves-Heng Lim highlights how a rising state develops naval power to fulfil its security objectives, a theoretical perspective that goes farther than the sole Chinese case.
’In this lucid re-evaluation of China’s naval modernization and its quest for regional hegemony, Yves-Heng Lim convincingly explores the subject through the offensive realist perspective. Lim combines both theory and Chinese sources to explain unequivocally the larger issues of China’s expanding power, regional hegemonic ambitions, geopolitical realities of Asia and the unfolding power transitions between the United States and China. What makes this work unique is that it situates the recent events of South China Sea, East China Sea and the Korean Peninsula in the overall neo-realist perspective and reflects on the possible naval operational disposition of China in tackling these maritime issues.’ Srikanth Kondapalli, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India ’In this important and provocative study, Yves-Heng Lim raises troubling questions about the geostrategic rationales behind China's growing naval prowess. Lim's deft use of authoritative and eye-opening Chinese-language sources lends substantial credibility to his sobering assessment. For scholars and strategists looking for an unvarnished interpretation of China's ascent at sea, this is the book they've been waiting for.’ Toshi Yoshihara, Naval War College, USA 'Yves-Heng Lim’s work has the undeniable merit of illustrating to the reader the profound linkage between the modernization of Chinese armed forces and the scenario of a potential hegemonic war against the U.S., thus challenging a sort of popular wisdom that concerns the avoidability of a military conflict between such highly interdependent actors. Consequently, it is surely recommended to those academics and scholars - already familiar with liberal, constructivist and traditional realist perspectives on China’s rise - who seeks a challenging testing ground for a peculiar offensive realist framework of analysis, thanks also to a personal reappraisal made by the author of several classic theoretic assumptions, as for the prominence of naval p
Contents: Foreword, Thomas M. Kane; Introduction; Naval power and the quest for regional hegemony; China’s rise in East Asia: the political context of Beijing’s bid for regional hegemony; The offensive turn of China’s naval strategy and doctrine; The modernization of Chinese naval forces; Taiwan … and beyond; Territorial and maritime issues in the China Seas; The great naval chessboard: sea power and the Chinese quest for hegemony; Conclusion; References; Index.