How China Would Fight the U.S. Navy (And Sink It) During a War

How China Would Fight the U.S. Navy (And Sink It) During a War

Harry J. Kazianis


Sea mines, missile and much more. 

Key Point: Thankfully, even though there are many pressure points that could create possible conflict between Washington and its allies and Beijing, the chances of actually war seem pretty low—for now.

When Chinese officers go to bed at night, what do they fear most?

Despite all the hard work, all the billions of dollars spent, no Chinese sailor wants to tangle with the U.S. Navy. As one retired Chinese senior defense official told me in late 2014: “The 3 A.M. crisis ‘call’ I feared the most is that we were at war with your navy.”

While such a statement surely tickles the hearts of Pentagon officials, know this: Fear, when focused properly, can make the mind—and the collective power of nations—help craft solutions to complex military challenges that might at one time have seemed nearly impossible.

For example, during the 1995-1996 Taiwan Crisis, Beijing’s ‘nightmares’ were nearly realized. When faced with a superior military power that could deploy massive amounts of advanced naval assets and project power from multiple domains like no other nation in history, China simply could not compete. Chinese leaders, especially President Jiang Zemin, would fear the power of American Carrier Battle Groups (CBGs) and their ability to negate what little military might Beijing could bring to bear on Taipei. At one point, there is strong evidence to suggest China could not even find the location of U.S. Carriers—a big problem for sure. The crisis would clearly shape Beijing’s thinking on the development of weapons that could provide an asymmetric edge.

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