The Chinese naval parade in Qingdao on April 23, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), showcased multiple indigenously produced Chinese warships and submarines. Most prominent of these were an upgraded Type 094 Jin-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine and the new 10,000-13,000 ton Type 055 guided missile destroyer. This event is the latest example of China flexing its maritime muscles and demonstrating to the region, and the world, that the PLAN is quickly developing into a powerful force.
A key question is whether this growth been matched with the emergence of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as a major bureaucratic force within the Chinese government. Does the PLA have the ability to significantly influence the decision-making process on events related to foreign and security affairs.