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People's Liberation Army Navy

People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is the naval arm of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the military of the People's Republic of China. Until the early 1990s, the navy performed a subordinate role to the PLA land forces. The strategy of the PLAN was a combination of Maoist guerrilla warfare and the Soviet young officers school.

In recent years, the PLAN has become more prominent owing to a change in Chinese strategic priorities. The possibility of a massive land attack by the Soviet Union has receded, and the new strategic threats include conflict with the United States or a resurgent Japan in areas such as Taiwan or the Spratly Islands.

See also: Liu Huaqing

Plans for aircraft carrier

As part of its overall program of naval modernization, there has been interest on the part of PLAN in building or acquiring an aircraft carrier. However the carrier has appeared to have been placed in a lower priority than other efforts to upgrade its aircraft and smaller ship forces.

Most naval analysts believe that, without significant modernization in other areas of its military, a PLAN aircraft carrier would be militarily useless and would take resources away from other parts of the military. The main target of PRC military interest, Taiwan, is within range of Chinese land aircraft and the PRC's main focus in case of a conflict over Taiwan would be sea denial rather than power projection. This assessment appears to be shared by the Chinese military and political leadership.

See: Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag