Which adversary will you choose- one who carries a lot of pomp and show, or the one who is underrated but can inflict a lot of damage when matters escalate? Of course, you will choose the one with all the showbiz but little glory. This is particularly true of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, also called the PLA Navy and its fishing militias.
PLA Navy is the largest in the world, with around 350 ships and submarines. Yet, no one fears it and despite being accorded special “shooting powers” earlier this year, the Chinese warships and coastguard vessels seem quite harmless. In fact, they get routinely chased away by smaller navies like Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and India. Similarly, France, the US, the UK and Australia too don’t feel intimidated while entering China’s backyard and carrying out freedom of navigation exercises.
Take the case of Taiwan. It is a tiny nation separated from China by a narrow Strait. Yet, Taiwan doesn’t really get bothered by Chinese warships. On Saturday, the Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration’s (CGA) Eastern branch claimed that it had chased away two large Chinese fishing boats near Taiwan’s Orchid Island.
On June 28, a CGA patrol boat had seized a Chinese fishing vessel, following its failure to stop for inspection.
The fact is that the PLA Navy is all about pomp and show. It probably satisfies the fat ego of an average CCP hardliner to claim that the PLA Navy is statistically the largest. However, the PLA Navy is mighty on paper and toothless in water. There is nothing confrontational about an average Chinese warship. All it is supposed to do is intrude into the adversary’s water and get chased away without inflicting any harm.
For example, China is building its third aircraft carrier called type 003, expected to be launched this year. It is billed to be the largest ship in the Chinese Navy fleet. We don’t doubt that China will be able to build it in time, but the catch is China doesn’t have any fighter jets to equip its gigantic 003 carrier with. So, the Chinese Navy will be practically operating a gun without any bullets.
So, don’t be surprised when you read that Vietnam chased away vessels with Chinese flags, or that Vietnam has created a huge fleet of fishing boat militia, which can dominate the Chinese vessels. Similarly, Japan frequently chases away Chinese vessels that infiltrate into the Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands.
In fact, China is really intimidated by the Japanese vessels. In order to find an excuse, China claimed that it was “exercising self-restraint” in using weapons and chasing away Japanese vessels. Well, this is all that the largest Navy in the world can do- exercise self-restraint and avoid confrontation.
In the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) too, the Indian Navy tracked a Chinese “research vessel” last year. In December 2019, a Chinese naval ship was forced to retreat from India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Andaman Sea.
The PLA Navy is simply incompetent to confront its rivals. China keeps making boastful remarks warning other powers against entering the South China Sea. But when the UK’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth entered the South China Sea despite prior warnings by Beijing, the PLA Navy literally couldn’t do anything. It exposed the cowardice and incompetence of the Chinese Navy.
In fact, Germany, India, Japan, Australia, UK and the US are set to conduct a massive military exercise in the South China Sea in a show of strength against Beijing. In fact, the Indian Navy too will deploy four warships in the South China Sea for 2 months. And quite clearly, China won’t be able to do anything about it, though a few Chinese State-run media houses might write a few bellicose reports about the massive military exercise.
Presently, Beijing has asked Berlin to clarify its warship’s intentions in the South China Sea. Now, if China is really a ferocious naval force, it wouldn’t be begging its rivals to issue clarifications, nor would Beijing’s rivals dare to enter the South China Sea. The fact remains that the incompetence of the Chinese Navy is well-known to its rivals, and they are able to show their strength against China quite fearlessly.
The oversized Chinese Navy is thus becoming the largest joke in the world, instead of becoming a fearsome military power. It is beautiful, spacious and airy, and completely harmless.
Settles down with popcorn to wait for all the Chinese shills and China apologists to start crying and whining over this article…🍿
C’mon shills! Gather your apologist friends and start crying! WAAAH! WAAAH! NASTY ARTICLE HURTS OUR FEELINGS! WAAAH! 😆🤣😂🍿🍿🍿
Interesting article with food for thought however I think the delivery comes off a bit biased especially at the end. From a journalist point of view it’s better not to let such obvious biases show unless it’s an opinion piece and even then it’s more mature to stay away from the more emotional characterization styles that the hissy fit, immature, rhetoric that the 50 cent army uses. Otherwise, then we all descend into schoolyard type taunting. Let the Chinese act like petulant children with their vitriol and undised and often seething insults in every sentence that they write. That in itself is the truest sign of weakness when we do it it means that we’ve been hurt or feel threatened ourselves.
Jean is like a giant fart belching from the black hole of Calcutta.
Akshay Narang is full of shit and not a drop of journalistic skill. Fact is China inflicted massive pain on India at the border.
And lol India can’t even produce a transistor radio. Put it simply India has no bragging rights.
Just a simple questionii, do you have the courage to talk or post something against your government in China.
You guys back stabbed us for letting Tibetans in India.
You spineless creature’s only know to backstabb others rather than confronting them face to face.
I’d You can raise your voice against the human rights violations or genocides done by your government the I can say that you are a man with a spine.
If not the you all Chinese are spineless creature’s.
Just like the Chinese virus you guys spread out to become the Global leader by destroying the economy of other countries.
Now it back stabbed you guys and your government is trying very hard to keep everything under control.
Not what i heard, I heard the Chinese got their butts kicked.
Having actualy been aboard a Chinese built frigate (almost 30 years ago), I saw some things that were a bit inconsistent with a warship — like sliding glass doors going into the officers wardroom. That said, quantity has it’s own quality and it doesn’t pay to be arrogant about a potential opponent’s capabilities. Ask Putin.
I constantly read how the PLA are hopeless and most have never fought a war. I worked for a while with PLA soldiers who were providing security for a project I was working on in Africa. They struck me as a very competent, professional bunch. And before any one jumps on me I had many years serving as an officer in the Australian Army reserve.