PLA Strategies In The Indian Ocean And The Malacca And Sunda Straits


tphuang

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Then why doesn't it do it?
We are not at a crisis yet. Aside from the obvious Taiwan scenario, there is also the scary scenario when resources/energy becomes scarce. Can China trust that Western countries will not physically cut off that supply and direct it to themselves. Not to say conflict will happen, but it would be negligent to not plan for the worst case scenario. People spend all day here talking about how China needs to acquire more nukes. The entire reason for acquiring nukes is to plan for the worst case scenario.
 

ZeEa5KPul

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We are not at a crisis yet. Aside from the obvious Taiwan scenario, there is also the scary scenario when resources/energy becomes scarce. Can China trust that Western countries will not physically cut off that supply and direct it to themselves. Not to say conflict will happen, but it would be negligent to not plan for the worst case scenario. People spend all day here talking about how China needs to acquire more nukes. The entire reason for acquiring nukes is to plan for the worst case scenario.
If China were as vulnerable as you assume or felt this kind of pressure, it would raise defense spending past the paltry 1.4% it spends. In keeping with the topic of the thread, it would seek naval bases in Myanmar to project power into the Indian Ocean. I don't see China even trying any of these things.

On the point of scarcity, I find it funny that the inflation in the West is driven in large part by the artificial scarcity they impose on themselves by sanctioning major energy producers. Russia? Sanctioned. Iran? Sanctioned. Venezuela? Sanctioned. Besides, the overwhelming share of the West's manufactured goods comes from China - what would they even do with raw materials and energy? America doesn't need energy to "manufacture" mortgage-backed securities.
 

tphuang

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If China were as vulnerable as you assume or felt this kind of pressure, it would raise defense spending past the paltry 1.4% it spends. In keeping with the topic of the thread, it would seek naval bases in Myanmar to project power into the Indian Ocean. I don't see China even trying any of these things.

On the point of scarcity, I find it funny that the inflation in the West is driven in large part by the artificial scarcity they impose on themselves by sanctioning major energy producers. Russia? Sanctioned. Iran? Sanctioned. Venezuela? Sanctioned. Besides, the overwhelming share of the West's manufactured goods comes from China - what would they even do with raw materials and energy? America doesn't need energy to "manufacture" mortgage-backed securities.

These are exactly the kind of things I have discussion with a few others about. How can China keep its industries going in the event of a blockade? What do they do to keep economy functional? Where can they get their natural resources from? Which countries they need to be allied up with? Where can they open up a couple of bases that can strategically protect their interest. They don't need an empire. They need a few strategically located bases. Myanmar is definitely not the highest one I would pursue. The one in Cambodia is better located.
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The one next to Gwadar in Pakistan is very well located. Off topic, but this is a very interesting one they are pursuing
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More on topic, there is a reason for their engagement with the Middle East.
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If the NATO countries are upping their defense spending to over 2%. China should be increasing its budget a lot more! And I'm not a war hawk.

Do not assume that Western countries are content letting China do all the manufacturing. China needs to be prepared for a possible decoupling in the future.
 

ZeEa5KPul

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Myanmar is definitely not the highest one I would pursue.
I take a different view. Cambodia is enclosed within the First Island Chain, the only advantage it provides is that it's closer to the Straits of Malacca. To break any American blockade, I believe China will have to launch two-sided attacks to flank the blockading forces, which means it needs to operate from the Indian Ocean side as well. Myanmar is unique in having a coastline right on the theatre of interest and an accessible land border with China. I think it should be China's highest foreign basing priority, and it's not like Myanmar is in a position these days to say no.
If the NATO countries are upping their defense spending to over 2%. China should be increasing its budget a lot more! And I'm not a war hawk.
Very much so. I advocate China raising defense spending to over 2% over a period of a decade to avoid any inflationary shock in defense industries if the budget is raised suddenly. Having said that, it's worth doing a few back-of-the-napkin calculations to see just how much China spends.

The IMF projects China's PPP adjusted GDP to be $29.4 trillion in 2022. SIPRI estimates the actual spending to be 1.9%. I'll tabulate some scenarios and assume a 5% average growth rate in China's GDP out to 2032. I'll also assume that the difference between "official" and "actual" rates remains the same (0.5 percentage points)
1.4% of GDP (official)1.9% of GDP ("actual")2.0% of GDP (projected increase)2.5% of GDP ("actual" projected increase)
2022$410 billion$560 billionN/AN/A
2032$670 billion$910 billion$960 billion$1.2 trillion
All figures are in PPP-adjusted 2022 dollars.
The one next to Gwadar in Pakistan is very well located.
Agreed, but that's more geared toward the Straits of Hormuz and supporting the Djibouti base. This is also something I find puzzling: China has excellent relations with Pakistan, a shared adversary, close military cooperation, and yet there's still no indication that China is building naval bases in Pakistan. The Pakistani elite would love China to be more deeply involved in their struggle against India - which bases would automatically do - and the population would be at least acceptant of it since there isn't the imperial history like there is with the West.
 

Ex0

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The US has way more submarines to pursue a policy like that.
That's the whole point. The whole worlds maritime trade gets shut down. Who would lose out more on such a thing? Usa who is isolated, along with Japan or Taiwan, or china who has land connection to Eurasia?

Needless to say, this won't happen anyway like I said. It would be akin to MAD from nukes but economical MAD. The whole world would lose, and since usa did it for no reason, the rest of the world would side with china.
 

Coalescence

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That's the whole point. The whole worlds maritime trade gets shut down. Who would lose out more on such a thing? Usa who is isolated, along with Japan or Taiwan, or china who has land connection to Eurasia?

Needless to say, this won't happen anyway like I said. It would be akin to MAD from nukes but economical MAD. The whole world would lose, and since usa did it for no reason, the rest of the world would side with china.
It would also be extremely bad for South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Philippines. As they rely heavily from imported agricultural goods and fertilizers to feed their population. While China could still source their needs through land trade, though the volume of trade will be lower than before, it should still meet the needs of China.
 
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Ex0

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Looks like you have no idea when China was planning to force a Taiwan unification scenario. Just no idea.

And yes, dividing up a few rocks in SCS is not a big deal. They already militarized a few islands. They can militarize a couple of more to be able to completely control the sea traffic around SCS. What does having additional rocks help them with?

And you do have an idea when china was planning to force a Taiwan unification scenario by military force? Why don't you share with us when that will be and how you know?

They are early warning radars and other things. I'm sure you already know what military and logistical uses they can and are used for, so there's no need to play this game.

The main point of disagreement here is this. You believe that getting rid of those islands and throwing away china's claims will somehow allow china to turn all of ASEAN into vassal states where china can build military bases and they will all ally with china against usa. I'm disagree, this is fantasy. Vietnam has the exact same long term foreign policy of no alliance and no ganging up with other countries against third country. It also makes zero sense from a logical perspective. If they can be turned into such vassal states with Chinese bases, then why don't THEY give up their claims and allow china to protect them by militarising their currently held bases? Why did pH sign US defense treaty and keep dangling that in front of usas face? They are all in it for themselves, just like china. They all trying to play china and usa agaisnt each other just like everyone else so they can have more leverage in everything. It's not complicated.
US attack Iraq for made up reason. Did the world stop relying on US? How many war has US being involved with since the second world war and how many countries have left American orbits?

Iraq is not china, and iraq war is not the same as shutting down all world maritime trade with the world's manufacturing hub and the world's largest trade partner, china. China can also target any country directly and destroy them without ever leaving china if it came down to it. No one is going to declare war on china. Tell me what usa even gets out of such a war, other than sinking their own economy and dollar reserve and making the world side with china? That's not even mentioning MAD like I said.
The battle to gain world influence through economic and financial power is a long one. China cannot hope to do it without military power and geopolitical influence. If US wants to shut down China's influence right now, it's super easy.
You haven't said or made a case how it's "super easy". If it was they would have already done it.

You talk like china is not increasing it's military and geopolitical influence day by day. It is. China's military and geopolitical influence is rising faster than anyone else in the world, including relative to usa, which is the only one that really matters. This is purely because of usas failed foreign policy(and continuing to fail), which it seems you want to emulate.

China's BRI and economic rise cannot be stopped, and china's military rise also cannot he stopped. Status quo is on chinas side.

Just because usa can shut down maritime trade doesn't mean it will. Same as how usa can nuke china to nothing tomorrow. C'mon dude, be realistic. Not just ridiculous hypotheticals that will never happen. Usa gains nothing and loses everything from declaring war vs china, which is what a blockade is. It would basically be starting ww3, except it will be usa vs the whole world.

If usa was that crazy and wanted to do that kind of thing, then giving up a few islands and having a few vassal states in ASEAN (IF you could even achieve it which I doubt), won't change anything. Usa can still nuke and shut down all global maritime trade regardless of if china has few extra bases in ASEAN countries or not. So like I said you don't even make sense and are just resorting to ridiculous hypotheticals which I'm sure even you know will never happen.

It's one thing to talk hypotheticals on a forum, but another thing completely to seriously entertain such a strategy and/or base your realpolitik foreign policy on it.
 

Coalescence

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And you do have an idea when china was planning to force a Taiwan unification scenario by military force? Why don't you share with us when that will be and how you know?

They are early warning radars and other things. I'm sure you already know what military and logistical uses they can and are used for, so there's no need to play this game.
On the topic of China planning to force a Taiwan Unification. I asked my Dad who watches geopolitics shows often on whether China would plan to militarily takeover this year, because of all the opportunities the chaos have given this year. He said that China is not going to do the first strike on Taiwan, because firstly the current Taiwanese administration is not going to declare independence, as its just political talk to gain voters, the status quo benefit both sides of the strait. Secondly, he thinks that China is just waiting for US or Taiwan to take the first move, so that China doesn't look like the aggressor.

Although I'm afraid of what the current administration both in Taiwan and US is doing behind the scene, but knowing my Dad sources his opinion from Chinese and Taiwanese sources. I think his analysis may have more merit than mine. That's all I want to share.
 

tphuang

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I take a different view. Cambodia is enclosed within the First Island Chain, the only advantage it provides is that it's closer to the Straits of Malacca. To break any American blockade, I believe China will have to launch two-sided attacks to flank the blockading forces, which means it needs to operate from the Indian Ocean side as well. Myanmar is unique in having a coastline right on the theatre of interest and an accessible land border with China. I think it should be China's highest foreign basing priority, and it's not like Myanmar is in a position these days to say no.
With a base in Cambodia (at the discussed locations), J-16/J-20s/UCAVs/KJ-500 can fly to Malacca and support carrier group. H-20/long range UCAV can strike Australian naval base. It gives them options that do not exist with the current SCS military bases. It would also probably be easier for them to protect and repair a landlocked base in a war.

This is the currently discussed Myanmar port.
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Took a look at the map and it seems to be too far from relevant areas for my liking.

I'd say both Hambantota and Gwadar would be better locations for them. The former would actually be the best location, but Sri Lankan government will have to deal with Indian outrage. I think Gwadar will happen at some point, but they need to work with Pakistan to sort out the Balochistan concerns first. I don't know enough about that area to comment more.

Agreed, but that's more geared toward the Straits of Hormuz and supporting the Djibouti base. This is also something I find puzzling: China has excellent relations with Pakistan, a shared adversary, close military cooperation, and yet there's still no indication that China is building naval bases in Pakistan. The Pakistani elite would love China to be more deeply involved in their struggle against India - which bases would automatically do - and the population would be at least acceptant of it since there isn't the imperial history like there is with the West.
I think China is still working out its strategy on future oversea bases. It needs some to just protect itself. Even Russians have some oversea bases and their military/economy is tiny compared to China. I think it's also weary of giving away its plans to Western countries too soon. If you look at their financial, industrial and technology development, they are probably 5 to 10 years away from being able to deal with a full decoupling from the West. If you look at their military capabilities, they are probably 10 years away from achieving parity with US Pacific forces.

I think that's kind of always been a worry for Chinese planners. At some point, China will get so powerful on its own, that certain portion of the West will seek to decouple from them. You can see the China hawks in Washington already advocating for that. Alarms started going off everywhere in DC in 2021.
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If I had to guess, they haven't publicly announced anything, because they are trying to not alarm even more people. They are trying to covertly build things up. There is a lot of stuff going on these days. China needs to strengthen itself quickly without getting noticed.
 

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