lørdag 20. november 2021

Asia's quiet militarization threatens to turn the region into a powder keg

In Shanghai's sprawling Jiangnan Shipyard, workers are fitting the catapults that will separate China's latest and most advanced aircraft carrier from its two older sister ships. Once launched, the high-tech vessel will be able to propel planes into the sky at the same speed as its US counterparts, another example of China's rapid military modernization. It's a trend that is putting the entire region on edge.

In recent months, global attention has been fixed on rising tensions between Taipei and Beijing -- but the threat of conflict in Asia stretches far beyond the Taiwan Strait. Across the region, countries are engaged in their own quiet arms race to avoid being left behind. But experts warn that any miscalculation could lead to conflict in a region already riven by border disputes and old rivalries.

In East Asia, Japan and South Korea are rapidly modernizing their militaries in response to threats from China and North Korea, whose leadership is particularly sensitive to signs of military progress nearby. Last month, after South Korea tested a new missile, Pyongyang admonished Seoul for its "reckless ambition."