Pure Commercial or More Than Strategic? An Observation of China’s Establishment of Overseas Naval Bases

  • Ming-Shih ShenEmail author


The escort operations in the Aden Gulf have greatly upgraded the PLAN’s international status and world images. However, battleships cannot operate without supplies from land. For the PLAN’s combat vessels, a lack of overseas naval bases is manifest limitation to a blue-water navy. The fact is that present oceanic actions for the PLAN rely mainly on commercial facilities at ports for logistic supplies. Beijing is evasive regarding the doubts expressed by the neighboring states. When an overseas base is established, a logical question for Beijing is how to deal with the political suspicion of the international society and how to mitigate the view of the “China threat.” However, Pakistan has transferred the management rights of Gwadar Port from Singapore to China in early 2013. The overseas strategic support points are under discussion in China. They dropped the suggestion that China may somehow establish military overseas bases. This paper is of the view that development of overseas naval bases is an important phase to Chinese blue-water navy coming into existence. This strategic intention will lay bare when the PLAN’s aircraft carrier battle group begins to deploy. The overseas naval bases or strategic support point, whatever the name, will cast the doubt over the balance of power in Asia.


PLAN Mahan Strategic support point Indian Ocean China maritime strategy 


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© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Strategic Studies, War CollegeNational Defense UniversityTaiwanRepublic of China

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