China's maritime development is gathering steam. It is challenging South Korea and Japan for dominance of the global shipbuilding market. More than 1,700 ships carry the five-star red flag, giving China the world's second largest merchant marine.1 Seven of the top 20 container ports in the world are located in China, with Shanghai seeking to take the top spot by 2010.2 Beijing is moving into both civil and naval high-tech shipbuilding arenas, producing everything from liquefied natural gas tankers to area air defense destroyers with phased array radars. From a maritime perspective, China finally has "stood up."3 This rapid maritime development has engendered tension, not only between China and its coastal neighbors, but also with the United States. It was suggested during the 1990s that Asia's preeminent continental power would not dare to challenge the preeminent sea power in the region.4 Such a balance of power, however elegant, seems less and less feasible as Chinese shipyards turn out better designs while the United States remains largely focused on Iraq. To ensure peace in the 21st century, the United States and China must reach a new modus vivendi on the high seas.
China A New Maritime Partner?
The U.S. Coast Guard is opening the door to a cooperative relationship with China.
By Lyle J. Goldstein?