China’s ninth defense white paper published on May 26 openly declared that overseas military bases will be necessary to carry out the New Economic Silk Road Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (“Belt and Road”) initiatives, according to Chinese political analyst Mao Yulin in an article for Duowei News, a media outlet operated by overseas Chinese.
Mao said the publication of the white paper lays down the definition of China’s strategy of active defense for the first time. The paper stated that pure defensive thinking can no longer protect or defend China’s territorial integrity. Facing potential conflicts over the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, China needs a blue-water navy to operate in the open seas, it said. Sticking to a brown-water navy established to protect the nation’s coastline is simply outdated, according to Mao.
The white paper discussed more about China’s overseas interests than any other document published previously. “It is necessary for China to develop a modern maritime military force structure commensurate with its national security and development interests, safeguard its national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, protect the security of strategic sea lines of communication and overseas interests, and participate in international maritime cooperation,” the white paper said.
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