Date of Graduation

Fall 2010


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Andrei Shoumikhin


China, military, PLA, military missions, foreign operations

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


In recent years, China has emerged as a key international player. The Communist Party leadership has been promulgating China's peaceful rise as well as its desire to become a responsible stakeholder on the world scene. Over the past twenty years, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been modernizing and acquiring new weapons to confront a range of current and future security challenges. This trend has concerned many countries within the Asia Pacific region, especially as China becomes more assertive in its claims to far-flung territories. Positive economic output continues to push China into more remote corners of the world in search of natural resources. As more Chinese venture further from home in search of work and raw materials, they face a variety of traditional and nontraditional dangers. This thesis examines the broad role of the PLA in support of China's expanding foreign policy and national security interests outside of East Asia. These policies represent both costs and benefits to the People's Republic of China. They increase tensions between China and its neighboring states and assure the steady supply of raw materials required for economic and military growth. It is this paper's recommendation that officials within the United States and China set aside some of their differences and focus on areas that promote positive engagement between the PLA and the U.S military. Cooperation in anti-terror missions, disaster relief and anti-piracy operations will help ease tensions between the two great powers and help prevent conflict in the years to come.


© Jason Ben Stolpa

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