CHINA’S TWO OCEAN STRATEGY
The economic necessity of reforming the PLAN so as to eventually protect China’s SLOCs (sea lines of communications) was evident, and the military necessity also became increasingly obvious as demonstrated by two events.
In 1988, scrimmages between China and Vietnam over the Johnson Reef in the Spratly Islands highlighted the need for a navy capable of operating and fighting in the seas adjacent to China.
In 1991, the decisive and swift victory of the United States in the First Gulf War shook the Chinese military community – policy-makers and academics alike –: it not only accentuated the difference in military capabilities between China and the US, but also gave impetus to the speed of military reform in China.
It is likewise important to note that, currently, the People’s Liberation Army Navy is in the second phase according to Liu’s plan. Moreover, it is evident that the PLAN’s modernization has been merged with the OBOR (“One Belt, One Road” Initiative), so that the goals of the two projects can mutually benefit one another.