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China’s Navy Speeds Ahead

China’s naval powers are growing – and fast, says Rory Medcalf, Director of the International Security Program at Medcalf:

“China’s navy is building up from a long way down, but China’s defense spending especially on its navy has been growing at double digits for 20 years or more now – so this is the fastest-growing navy in the world.”

It’s just one more sign that China’s sights are set on maintaining regional preeminence, and strengthening its navy is helping to achieve that goal in more than one way, say Shaun Breslin, Professor of Politics of Warwick University:

“If you listen to some of the more hawkish voices in the military, they will tell you that [China’s] scared of naval encirclement. Others point to the importance of maintaining national pride, playing the role of a great power on the world stage. But I think most of these initiatives come from economic priorities.”

But the crux remains the East Asia Sea. There, trouble is brewing between claims of sovereignty by Japan and China, says Medcalf:

“There is a small risk – and I think it’s a growing risk – that an incident at sea could escalate into conflict involving China and one of its neighbors and I think that’s what we’re all worried about.”