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Challenges for the PLAN in the Western Pacific: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance

By: Tetsuo Kotani |

China is further developing its anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities, particularly its submarine fleet and cruise missiles launched from land-based aircraft, to defeat an approaching enemy fleet. In addition to developing A2/AD capabilities, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is making concerted efforts to become a blue water navy. However, the PLAN faces some difficult challenges—both geographical and operational—in becoming an ocean-going navy. This paper considers the challenges the PLAN faces in the open ocean and the implications of these challenges for U.S.-Japan alliance cooperation.