Growing Muscle: China’s Neighbors Gear Up for a Fight


TAIPEI — The Asia-Pacific naval market is heating up, with massive quantities of new ships to boost regional navies in coming years.

According to AMI International, a US-based naval analysis firm, Asia-Pacific has already surpassed Europe as the world’s second largest naval market. AMI projects the region will spend $200 billion on new ships and submarines by 2032, making up roughly 25 percent of the global projected new ship market.

At least 100 new submarines will join regional navies during that time, making up 40 percent of global new-build vessels.

About 1,000 new warships, at least 30 meters long, also will be constructed.

One motivating factor is certainly China, whose maritime claims and military modernization efforts are driving regional neighbors to buy new weapons, upgrade old ones, improve training and huddle closer to US Pacific Command.

But not all of the market growth can be laid at Beijing’s feet. For example, Singapore appears more worried about pirates in the Malacca Strait and potential conflict with Malaysia and Indonesia. And China is hardly the only Asian country making conflicting claims in the resource-rich South China Sea.


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