As regular readers are no doubt aware, the US and China are racing towards a maritime conflict stemming from Beijing’s construction of what Washington has condescendingly called “sand castles” in the Spratly archipelago.
Atop these man-made islands are cement plants, air strips, and soon-to-be lighthouses, as China boldly asserts its territorial claims on what are heavily-contested waters though which trillions in seaborne freight pass each year.
Now, with Beijing set to enforce what is effectively a no-fly zone over its new sovereign ‘territory’ we bring you the following graphic from WSJ which shows that when it comes to sheer size, China’s air force and Navy are beyond compare.
China’s promise to beef up its naval capabilities to prevent further “meddling” and “provocative actions” by rivals in the South China Sea is a daunting prospect for most of its neighbors, which already view Beijing’s fast-improving armed forces with trepidation...
As a recent Pentagon review of China’s military modernization drive noted, “China is investing in capabilities designed to defeat adversary power projection and counter third-party—including U.S.—intervention during a crisis or conflict.” In practice, that means hundreds of ballistic and cruise missiles positioned near the coast to deter Japanese or American warships from coming anywhere near Chinese territory. China has a substantial submarine fleet as well, piling on more risk for enemy ships.