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Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 13:49 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 13:49 | SYDNEY

What have I changed my mind about this year? China\'s naval build-up

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21 December 2010 15:15

Hugh White has already written about China's growing maritime assertiveness in 2010, but there's also the question of hardware. It's barely two-and-a-half months ago that I wrote a blog post which described China's naval modernisation as 'methodical' and 'modest'. I even used the phrase 'slow and steady' in the headline, and threw in a picture of the tortoise and the hare to drive home the point.

But the evidence that has emerged since that time — mainly from Chinese military-themed blogs and forums — throws that characterisation into serious doubt. Shipyard photos posted online lately support the claim that the PLA Navy is entering another building boom. Given the capacity of Chinese shipyards and the low cost of labour, we could see China comfortably outstrip US naval shipbuilding in the next five years.

Of course, this latest building boom could be followed by another 4- or 5-year lull, as happened the previous time. But with China now officially confirming that it intends to build aircraft carriers, you would expect the escort ships — destroyers, frigates, submarines, supply vessels — to follow.

Photo shows one of two Type 052C destroyers in PLA Navy service; four more are under construction. Courtesy of Sinodefence.

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