Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

From Continent to Periphery: PLA Doctrine, Strategy and Capabilities Towards 2000*


In the late spring of 1985, shortly after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the former USSR, the Central Military Commission of the Chinese Communist Party (CMC) directed a radical change in the armed forces′ training and preparation for war. The Chinese People′s Liberation Army (PLA-as all the military services and branches are collectively designated) was instructed that it was no longer necessary to prepare for an “early, major and nuclear war” with the Soviet Union. Henceforth, the PLA′s doctrine, strategy and operational concepts would be focused on preparing for the most probable form of future conflict: local, limited war (jubu zhanzheng) around China′s periphery.1 The decade following the CMC′s directive has seen the Chinese armed forces begin the transition towards a more modern, flexible military force as they′changed their organizational structure, command and control, and training to focus on possibly unexpected, potentially intensive military conflict along China′s borders and maritime territories. These changes paralleled the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which eliminated any significant military threat to China′s northern borders for at least another decade. Nevertheless, and even as Beijing′s security analysts were publicly acknowledging that China′s military security was more assured than it had been for the past 50 years, the defence expenditures of the People′s Republic entered a period of rapid growth that continues to this day.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 3 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 171 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.