China’s ninth defense white paper published on May 26 openly declared that overseas military bases will be necessary to carry out the New Economic Silk Road Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (“Belt and Road”) initiatives, according to Chinese political analyst Mao Yulin in an article for Duowei News, a media outlet operated by overseas Chinese.
Mao said the publication of the white paper lays down the definition of China’s strategy of active defense for the first time. The paper stated that pure defensive thinking can no longer protect or defend China’s territorial integrity. Facing potential conflicts over the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, China needs a blue-water navy to operate in the open seas, it said. Sticking to a brown-water navy established to protect the nation’s coastline is simply outdated, according to Mao.
“Beijing is unlikely to corner itself within the fishbowl of the South China Sea in line with the wishes of Europe and the US,” said Mao. He added that China’s economic development is now deeply tied in to the global economy. China’s oil industry relies on natural resources from the Middle East and Central Asia, while Chinese construction companies need materials from Southern Africa and Latin America, which is why China is so keen to press ahead with the Belt and Road plan.
Full article: Beijing’s Belt and Road means overseas military bases (Want China Times)