Although their economy is increasingly dependent on maritime trade, China lacks the ability to protect its shipping—a dangerous reality should they find themselves in a major war at sea.
China’s greatest strength is at the same time its greatest weakness. With the second largest global economy, about 60−70 percent of China’s economic activity today is directly or indirectly linked to trade with other nations. 1 In 2011 85 percent of China’s total trade was by sea. 2 In this regard, the country is increasingly dependent on maritime trade—and the security of its sea lanes—for its economic vitality, high standard of living, and military strength.