Last week, the People‚Äôs Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) deployed its first purpose-built hospital ship on an 87 day medical diplomacy mission. The 10,000 ton vessel, called Peace Ark, will ‚Äúprovide medical treatment to soldiers and officers serving in the Gulf of Aden‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúprovide medical treatment to people in five African and Asian countries – Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles and Bangladesh‚ÄĚ, and ‚Äúconduct various exchange programs with medical workers in the countries the ship calls at‚ÄĚ.
This launch marks a major soft power first for Beijing. The cruise is almost certainly inspired by the successes of similar US medical stability operations conducted by USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy. However, it is important to note that, like US hospital ships, Peace Ark is a dual-use vessel. America’s hospital ships were originally designed and built to provide medical care during large scale military operations. Likewise, Peace Ark is exactly the type of ship needed during a major amphibious action against Taiwan.
Check out Raymond at Information Dissemination for some good commentary.
- Sea Control 49: General Robert Scales on Firepower
- Backlash Against Police Militarization: Implications for the U.S. Coast Guard?
- On Midrats 24 Aug 2014- Episode 242: “Lost Opportunities: WWI and the Birth of the Modern World”
- Veterans Supporting Homeless Veterans
- A Defense of the Millennial Officer from an Old Guy