The US and China are increasingly on a collision course with each other. Until recently, America was the world’s superpower, but for how long? The US Navy chief has now warned that China has a bigger navy than the US. But is that right?
US Navy Chief Carlos Del Toro has warned that China is catching up with the US on many fronts. China is building naval vessels faster than the US, he says. China has already overtaken the US in terms of naval size.
China is building
According to marine journalist Jaime Karremann of Marinechips.nl, China is building ships at a rapid pace: “This is also evident from their ambitions. They are now at 340 ships, but the expectation is that they will be at 400 ships. In 2 years..” 2045 USA 350 Garreman says he doesn’t want to be on ships.
Karreman therefore concludes that the Chinese Navy is larger than the US Navy. “The Chinese Navy currently has 340 ships. The US Navy has less than 300.”
‘Quality is not always good’
When the Chinese warship was opened to the public in 2015, Carreyman saw it himself. The naval journalist was not impressed with the ship’s quality. “I find the fire safety on board disappointing. I’ve seen fans in all kinds of accommodation, and that says something about the air conditioning. Those are signs of questionable quality.”
American expert Paul Verhagen also questions the quality of China’s navy: “It doesn’t matter how many ships you have, but how good those ships are, how good those ships are at doing military tasks. American ships are much better than Chinese ships on those points.”
China fears isolation
China often takes a neutral position in global conflicts. Why is the country investing so much in a new naval fleet? According to China expert Fred Sengers, China is building up its military fleet at such an enormous pace because it fears being cut off from the outside world.
“The Chinese, of course, have the impression that they are surrounded by America. And in a sense, if you consider that there are many American bases in the sea around China, that is certainly true. Near China are many allies of America: Japan, South Korea and Australia.” According to Sengers, isolation could have disastrous consequences for China, as the country is highly dependent on maritime trade routes.
America continues to improve
Although the Chinese military fleet is larger than the US military, according to Verhagen, the Americans don’t have much to worry about. For example, when looking at the Air Force, it is very difficult to match the US:
“America is number one in the world in number of aircraft. Number two is the US navy. So the overweight of the US military in the world is very large. A really big military fist. The Chinese are starting. They have to work on it, but they have a lot more to do,” says Verhagen.
Availability is subject to change
However, Karremans notes that relationships have indeed changed. “20 years ago, a naval conflict between the US and Chinese navies would have been a guaranteed loss for China.”
“But if you look at what weapons China has now, I expect the balance to be the other way in the coming years.”
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