PLA leaders have delivered seemingly bellicose remarks and used incidents such as the 2001 Hainan Island patrol plane incident and the 2007 anti-satellite test in a calculated manner to bolster the PLA’s authority and display its determination to use force when it considers it necessary to defend China’s interests.
Most notable in this regard is the PLA’s displays of determination to use force if necessary to establish China’s sovereignty over Taiwan, in the hope of deterring U.S. intervention should a crisis over the island occur.
“The reason [the U.S.] lost was because the Chinese sortie rates and persistence carried the day,” Davies says. “Any American aircraft was operating out of Guam or Okinawa because the airfields in Taiwan were taken out in the first half hour [of the conflict]. So [U.S.] time on station over the Strait is quite limited.”
“The Chinese have been working since the [Taiwan] Strait crises of 1995-6 to deny the approaches to China to a carrier battle group. That’s why basing becomes an issue.
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