In an age of missiles and terrorist threats, many people think that “sea power” is a word and concept from the past. Not in China. Indeed, China is increasingly emphasizing its naval and maritime interests: economic development, territorial management, energy and food security as well as trade. A navy sufficient to promote such activities is being rapidly developed and purchased from abroad (mostly from Russia, the EU when possible).
Many of China’s neighbors are alarmed. The United States Defense Department views China’s goal as being to build a series of military and diplomatic strategic bases – a so-called “string of pearls” – along the major sea lanes from the South China Sea to the oil rich Middle East.