US Navy build-up plans ‘may cement China’s resolve to modernise’

US Navy build-up plans ‘may cement China’s resolve to modernise’

  • China will not react to the US secretary of defence’s ‘Future Forward’ announcement but will push forward with military overhaul: analyst
  • Observers forecast friction between American and Chinese armed forces and potential close encounters but say neither nation wants war

China will be even more resolute in its military modernisation plan after the United States called for a bigger and more lethal naval fleet, increasing an already high risk of confrontation between the two states, military experts said.The assessment came after US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper announced on Wednesday an ambitious plan to expand the US Navy with unmanned and autonomous ships, submarines and aircraft to confront the growing maritime challenge from China.

In a speech to the Rand Corporation, a US think tank, Esper said a sweeping review of US naval power dubbed “Future Forward” had laid out a “game-changer” plan that would expand the US sea fleet to more than 355 ships from the current 293.