China Ramping Up Naval Abilities

China Ramping Up Naval AbilitiesChina Ramping Up Naval Abilities

The PLA Navy is likely to secure significant new funding in China's upcoming defense budget, as Beijing seeks to check US dominance of the high seas and step up its own projection of power across the world. China's Navy has been playing an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new Chinese warships popping up in far-flung places, Reuters reported.

Now, with US President Donald Trump promising a shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues, including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the US Navy.

"It's opportunity in crisis," said a Beijing-based Asian diplomat, of China's recent naval moves. "China fears Trump will turn on them eventually as he's so unpredictable and it's getting ready."

Beijing does not give a breakdown for how much it spends on the navy, and the overall official defense spending figures it gives—954.35 billion yuan ($139 billion) for 2016—likely understates its investment, according to diplomats. China unveils the defense budget for this year at next month's annual meeting of parliament, a closely watched figure around the region and in Washington, for clues to China's intentions.

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