China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy marks its 71st anniversary today. It comes amid intensified drills in the near seas and Western Pacific, along with deepening tensions in the South China Sea. The navy has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s military reforms.
Driven by great power ambitions, Chinese naval shipbuilders have been churning out warships at a record pace over the past few years. Consequently, the Chinese navy today has the world’s largest deployable fleet of vessels. The irony, however, is that in the post-Covid-19 world, this expansion could prove to be the navy’s Achilles’ heel.