At a time when the PLA Navy has become an indispensable force in safeguarding China’s interests, the nation should further strengthen its maritime capabilities, a senior naval officer said.
“A strong maritime force is one of the decisive factors in whether the country will be fully capable of protecting its interests,” said Rear Admiral Du Benyin, deputy political commissar of the PLA Navy’s South Sea Fleet.
Considering China’s international status and the colossal tasks the PLA Navy now has, the Navy is still not as big and strong as it needs to be, Du said.
“The government should enhance strategic planning for the Navy, better coordinate the development of the Navy, the Coast Guard and other maritime forces, and accelerate the Navy’s expansion.”
Du said the Navy is already in a good position, but it must continue to advance.
“Despite the fact that the Navy’s strength, weapons and equipment continue to improve, we have weaknesses at the technological level. Our researchers have made breakthroughs in many fields, and what we need now is the government’s determination and investment, otherwise the Navy will lag behind others.”
Du also called on the government to help raise the public’s awareness of the importance of this branch of the People’s Liberation Army.
On the subject of speculation by some foreign nations about China’s development in the South China Sea, Du said justice is with China and that talk of a militarization of the area is totally groundless.
“We don’t and will never accept others’ lecturing on what we should do in our territorial waters,” Du said.
Captain Hua Ming, deputy commander of a submarine flotilla of the East Sea Fleet, suggested the military create more opportunities for members of the Navy to communicate with their counterparts from other countries.
“A powerful navy is one whose crew members are confident, knowledgeable and familiar with other navies,” he said.
“Members of my flotilla are required to practice speaking English and study international maritime rules every night. I would like them to have more opportunities to meet submariners from other navies and broaden their experiences.”