China’s Aircraft Carriers: Testing Coercive Naval Diplomacy?

China’s Aircraft Carriers: Testing Coercive Naval Diplomacy?
(Li Gang/Xinhua via AP, File)

Introduction

Since the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned its second aircraft carrier, the possibility of utilizing these capital ships for coercive diplomacy is becoming more real. In China’s surrounding areas, Southeast Asia would be most suitable for “carrier diplomacy” regarding the proximity, the relatively weak defenses of the regional countries, and the major territorial disputes in the South China Sea. However, Southeast Asian countries, with their military modernizations and geopolitical circumstances, would not be merely hopeless either.

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