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Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 07:23 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 07:23 | SYDNEY

China's long game



21 November 2008 09:33

This line from an Economist article on China's aviation industry caught my eye:

Many foreign analysts doubt that Western airlines will ever be prepared to buy Chinese aircraft. But, as in other fields, China is playing a long game.

That's a point I didn't convey in my post earlier this week on China's naval modernisation. That modernisation — and indeed, China's military modernisation as a whole — has been rapid over the last two decades. But you cannot say that it has been breakneck or resembles a crash program.

Nor do we see a Soviet-style imbalance — China is not developing a superpower military at the expense of its economy. There may even be some slowing down — after a rash of new designs entering service in the first half of this decade, it now seems as if China has no new destroyers under construction.

Australia would be alarmed to see a massive expansion of China's navy over the next decade, but a continuation of the steady evolution we are now seeing might actually be more worrying, because it would reinforce the 'long game' thesis. And that long game would change the regional power balance profoundly, making life a lot more complicated for Australia.

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