While the U.S. Navy struggles to figure out how it can expand the size of its fleet by 15 percent, China continues to crank out around a dozen new large warships a year. The hectic production at Chinese shipyards signals Beijing’s desire for a fleet commensurate with its perceived status as a great power.
South China Sea Disputes
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has pursued an “independent” foreign policy, less hostile to China and less dependent on the U.S. But his aggressive push to reorient Philippine foreign policy has been met with stiff resistance at home, especially from the defense establishment and pundit class, both wary of China.
Late last month, Vietnam suspended ongoing work on a major oil drilling project in the South China Sea, reportedly under Chinese pressure. The incident revealed the ongoing challenge Vietnam faces in protecting its interests in the vital waterway as Beijing continues to aggressively assert its maritime claims.