The United States and Chinese navies have just narrowly avoided a dangerous collision. This was not an accident but an escalation, a show of force on the part of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to drive out the US Navy from what China considers its territorial waters in the South China Sea.
Far from transforming Asia's naval balance, the launch of China's first aircraft carrier will only begin to expose China to the rigours of modern naval warfare. The region should respond to the strategic ripples by steering carefully between complacency and alarmism.
Despite NATO's new Alliance Maritime Strategy, the protracted discussion around how best to respond to events in Libya means that Alliance solidarity and the need for reforms are increasingly important issues.