The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is the weakest link in the Chinese armed forces, PLA Major General Luo Yuan (retired) has said.
The PLA is the military arm of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. It has five major branches that include the Air Force, Ground Force, Navy, Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force.
In China, a majority of the military units are assigned to one of the five theater commands according to the geographic location.
According to Statista, a market and consumer data company, currently, China has the largest armed forces in the world by active-duty military personnel, followed by India, the United States, North Korea, Russia, Pakistan, South Korea, and Iran.
According to retired PLA general, Luo Yuan, the statistics are in sync with the reality of today with there being no significant gap between China, Russia, and the US.
“From the perspective of the army, the gap between my country and the United States and Russia is actually not very large,” said Luo.
However, there lies a clear gap between the three nations in respect of the strength of the navies, he was quoted as saying by Chinese portal Sohu.
“Although my country’s military strength has improved significantly in recent years, there is still a clear gap between China and the United States and Russia.”
“Although our country is recognized by all countries in the world in terms of the army, our country is far inferior to the United States and Russia in terms of the navy. Throughout Chinese history, we will find that the development of my country’s navy is not smooth,” said Luo.
In 2018, President Xi Jinping had stated that China’s need for building a powerful navy was very urgent.
According to predictions made by the US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), China will enhance its navy’s numbers significantly in the next few years, with a total of around 400 battle force ships.
However, despite the predictions, Luo feels that the gap will still be large.
“Although China has attached great importance to the development of the navy since the founding of the People’s Republic of my country, and many advanced ships have been developed, but whether it is the number of ships or the proficiency of the navy in actual combat, there is a big gap between my country and the United States and Russia,” said Luo.