Getting to know and understand them better through naval diplomacy

Two links to articles from China Brief concerning the rise of Chinese naval ambitions are provided here, and here; both are informative and insightful.  The fact that the People’s Liberations Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) is expanding its maritime ambitions should not come as a surprise, particularly in light of the growing recognition and universal acceptance that economically they are catching up with the United States.

It can be argued that such developments should be regarded as welcome if we wish the Chinese to shoulder more of the burden of responsibility that comes with economic power.  Indeed, the Chinese expansion of naval capabilities mirrors that of traditional western naval doctrine and raison d'être does it not?  Rather than view them as a potential threat, as our southern cousins are apt to do, should we not try to develop them as partners, particularly as Asia-Pacific trade is now pre-eminent?

Most informed commentators will tell you that the Chinese perception of themselves is the complete reversal of the more hawkish assessments in the west.  Fear is generated from the unknown and thus the Canadian Forces should develop a policy of ‘getting alongside’ their Chinese counterparts and, to paraphrase Sun Tzu, get to know them as well as we know ourselves.  A simple combined anti-submarine training exercise with the PLA(N) would be a small price to pay to ease tensions and help develop trust and understanding.