Gunboats for China's New 'Grand Canals'? Probing the Intersection of Beijing's Naval and Oil Security Policies   [open pdf - 441KB]

"The possible interaction between China's developing oil security and naval strategies poses important questions. Gunboats were once used to invade China in the name of protecting international commerce. Now China is itself acquiring powerful warships, but its precise reasons for doing so remain unclear. What relationships do Chinese civilian and military leaders envision between maritime commerce, oil availability, and the use of force in international affairs? Such questions appear to be largely undecided in China. They perplex the U.S. Department of Defense, which stated in 2008 that 'the extent to which Beijing's concerns over the security of its access to oil supplies shapes China's defense policy and force planning is not known.' But they are questions that China will increasingly confront in the future, as its role on the global stage, including both economic and military aspects, continues to increase. The maritime dimensions of China's emerging oil security strategy have received considerable attention from analysts, both inside and outside the nation. But to date, few scholars have attempted to analyze comprehensively oil security--related writings in Chinese naval and maritime publications. This article will therefore offer possible answers to these questions and attempt to fill an important gap in the existing literature by surveying the maritime oil security discussions conducted by Chinese naval and energy specialists."

2009 Naval War College Review. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
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Naval War College Review: http://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Review.aspx
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Naval War College Review (Spring 2009), v.62 n.2, p.12-19
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