Between 2004 and 2006, the People’s Liberation Army Navy kept itself within the region known as the First Island Chain in the Pacific, extending from Alaska to the Philippines, to avoid direct confrontation with the United States and its security partners. But the PLA Navy enhanced training in disciplines that enabled it to take steps toward conducting operations further from China’s coast into the “blue water” of the open ocean, he wrote.
After that, the PLA Navy integrated land-based fixed wing aircraft into Philippine Sea exercises and executed the first Western Pacific exercise that involved all three naval fleets operating simultaneously between 2013 and 2014. Furthermore, PLA surface combat vessels were for the first time deployed to the Indian Ocean for counter-piracy operations around the Gulf of Aden, Sharman noted.
Sharman concluded by saying that the normalization of the PLA Navy’s operations in the Western Pacific and the experience of counter-piracy missions has given China the requisite experience, confidence and proficiency to defend China through the operationalization of far seas defense capabilities. This will also allow China to eventually establish a navy with global power projection, he said.
Full article: PLA has spent 10 years to build a blue-water navy: US expert (Want China Times)