Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chinese Naval Strategy and the "String of Pearls" Debate

The National Defense University in Washington issued a major report in October 2014 on "Chinese Overseas Basing Requirements in the 21st Century" by Christopher D. Yung, Ross Rustici, Scott Devary, and Jenny Lin.  It deals with the so-called Chinese "String of Pearls" strategy in the Indian Ocean and has rekindled an old debate.  This discussion is relevant to future Chinese naval interests along the East African coast.  One of the authors responded to recent criticism of the report in a piece published in The Diplomat on 22 January 2015 titled "Burying China's 'String of Pearls'."

The original report argues that China's expanding global interests will generate increased demands for out-of-area naval operations and predicts that China is likely to establish at least one "dual-use" civilian/military base, probably at Karachi, to provide logistics support for increased People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) operations.  The report also concluded that China is unlikely to attempt to dominate the Indian Ocean region militarily and suggested the "String of Pearls" model has long outlived its usefulness as a strategic concept.

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