The launch this week of Britain’s national shipbuilding strategy, with an order of five vessels to be designed and built in English shipyards, sees the UK’s aspiration to compete in the global warship export market.
To meet the threats from China and North Korea, Japan is cooperating with its allies in the region, particularly by selling, lending or gifting them naval and maritime assets. But Tokyo is also building up its own fleet, despite its pacifist constitution, and this has put Japan’s shipbuilders into the spotlight.
Footage of JCBs turning Nimrods to scrap metal reflects the drastic nature of recent cuts in the defence budget, but seemingly straightforward changes can have far-reaching implications for UK defence policy.
China’s recent vituperative reaction to the Japanese seizure of a trawler reflects a new and troubling assertiveness that places at risk the benign and conciliatory image it has assiduously cultivated in recent years.
The US and South Korean show-of-arms against North Korea have generated accusations from China of escalating tension in the region. Is this is a legitimate security response, or a sign of China's new-found assertiveness?