DOI: 10.1111/pafo.12232 ISSN:

American Discourses on China's Motivations for Naval Development under Xi Jinping

Youngduk Jang, Yongjon Han
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science

This article examines the security and defense discourse in the United States on China's ambitious naval development in the Asia‐Pacific region. American scholars and experts highlight four motivations for Chinese naval development: (1) the consolidation of China's territorial sovereignty; (2) the feasibility of A2/AD strategy; (3) the protection of China's overseas interests; and (4) leadership endorsement. Xi Jinping has increased the quality and quantity of China's naval capabilities and attempted to enhance his prestige by portraying himself as the driving force behind the development of China's powerful navy. Since then, the United States has not merely watched China's naval development but has considered China's navy a rival force. There are multiple ongoing debates regarding the purpose of China's naval development, including whether China aims to challenge US maritime supremacy. Some scholars are focused on China's territorial and strategic motivation, inferring the aim of posing a direct threat to US national security, but China posits that its purpose for naval development is not to confront US maritime hegemony. Some believe that the Chinese navy is not capable of doing so, and others explain that China is not aiming for a military crusade capable of causing a power transition, but rather focusing on the expansion of maritime interests.

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