Officials from the US and China put on brave faces at the recently concluded US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Tensions in the maritime and cyber realms, however, are threatening to send the relationship into a downward spiral.
With news of regular tragedies involving migrants awash on Europe’s shores, the European Union is promising to respond to these through military means. But the political will just does not exist in Europe; neither can the hurdles be overcome easily.
Last week saw governments making statements about their values, intent and national interest through the medium of the sea. Distracted by emergency response in Nepal and elections at home, the United Kingdom was largely absent from this global maritime conversation.
Taiwan has had industrial financial viability problems with the construction of new minehunting vessels. These problems are indicative of the difficulties Taipei faces in its indigenous military modernisation efforts aimed at ameliorating its military inferiority vis-à-vis China.
Pictures of what appears to be a test installation of a naval railgun on a PLA Navy landing ship suggest China is moving forward with sea trials of a weapon which can threaten all Western surface assets. At the start of a huge ship-building plan, China is ideally placed to capitalise on this technology.