Is China’s Navy expansion a threat?

Jerry Grey
6 min readJun 13, 2023

I’m honestly quite surprised that I don’t get as many detractors on YouTube as I do on Twitter. I suspect the main reason for that is the attention span needed to comment on anything, is just too great. There are some who open the video just to give it a thumbs down or make a negative comment, but it’s clear when they do, they’re commenting on a thumbnail they don’t like rather than any content they might disagree with.

Something I wish YouTube would fix, at least allow a thumbs up or a thumbs down only after watching a percentage of the video — it might make for more reliable analytics

When people do comment, I always reply, if I don’t it’s because I haven’t seen it but I spend several hours every day just replying to people on social media; it’s not quite a full-time job but it’s certainly occupying a great deal of my part time — luckily, I don’t have a full-time, or any other kind of job or I’d never keep up.

When a reply is positive, I usually respond with a heart, or with my thanks and sometimes a with a deeper explanation.

When it’s negative I have a series of options, one is to simply block and remove the nasty ones, one is to reply with mention of the link I put into all my videos for an article which provides all the justifications for my statements, it’s hard to tell me I’m wrong when I’m citing Harvard, Yale or Oxford, it’s even harder when an American tells me I’m talking rubbish but the source of my “rubbish” is his or her own government website.

My final option is to make another video about a comment and I’m really grateful to some of my detractors for inspiring me to look deeper into an allegation and provide a response that helps confirm an earlier comment and set in concrete that the it was not only correct, but the respondent was misinformed.

One such comment the other day related to the Chinese military defensive acceleration. How can I suggest China has no intention of invading Taiwan when, as US media points out, China has built more ships than the USA.

And it’s a good point, they have indeed built more ships than the USA and are continuing to do so. But there are a lot of other factors not considered in such a naïve response.

According to the US Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, China now has more ships in the water than the US. What he fails to mention is that the US can, and does, call upon “allies with shared values” to patrol the seas with them adding up to a much larger force. In fairness, when making these comments, he was asking Congress for more money, as all military expansionists do but he’s also escalating fears that China is aggressive when, if the facts are closely examined, the opposite appears to be true.

While it often changes, there were recently two US carrier strike groups patrolling the seas around China. A Carrier Strike Group includes an aircraft carrier with 65 or 70 aircraft, a guided missile cruiser and two guided missile destroyers, there are also an unspecified number of submarines and support vessels with each one — Canadian, Japanese, British, French Australian and even New Zealand ships have joined in and now two German warships are also on their way.

USA’s Military Press News proudly boasts that this is the largest ever forward deployed fleet and is capable of delivering “overwhelming maritime force” and “unparalleled firepower across all domains — air, sea and land”. Hardly the words of a peace-loving society!

However, we all know that these words are meant to frighten, they’re also, it is claimed, meant to “preserve a free and open Indo Pacific Region” protecting shipping lanes from any and all threats. But the country which benefits most from keeping these shipping lanes open is China! the largest manufacturing, importing and exporting country in the world appears to be the threat that the USA and its allies are afraid of. The one country that must keep trade open to survive is, according to US reports, a threat to (its own) international trade.

It’s so comically farcical that one media group Working Dog Productions has created a brilliantly funny short video about it. “We’re spending $40 billion a year to protect our trading routes with China, from… China”

But let’s looks at the real reason: there’s no doubt the Chinese Navy has accelerated shipbuilding and there’s a very good reason; it’s defensive.

We’ve seen what the west did to Libya when Gaddafi tried to take Africa away from the USD. We watched what happened to Afghanistan when the Taliban, quite reasonably, asked for evidence before agreeing to arrest and handover Bin Laden, the evidence wasn’t available and the request was refused, leading to an invasion and 20-year occupation.

We’ve seen what happened when Saddam Hussein decided not to play ball with the USA. There’s still debate about the real reason for this. True, his neighbours didn’t like him but they say he was not a threat to them, except to Iran where the US are now an even bigger threat, Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear or chemical warfare capability and both George W Bush and Colin Powell have since said (regretfully) there was no evidence he, or Iraq, supported Al-Qaeda or was behind 9/11. US also promised they would deliver democracy to Iraq, but to date, that still hasn’t happened so, the mystery remains what did Saddam Hussein do that George W Bush didn’t like; and a question hangs over the world: is China guilty of the same degree of… nothing under the Biden Administration?

Even more worrying is what the US thinks about Communism; as many as two million civilians died in Vietnam. They carpet bombed entire villages in North Korea with as many as half a million civilian deaths there too; all because they were afraid Communism might spread.

China’s population is entitled to be worried about that, simply for having a different ideology, they may suffer the same fate. Because, to any critical observer, the only reason USA invaded and destroyed the populations of those countries was ideology. There’s no question either of them was a threat to mainland USA, they weren’t. They were, at that time, simple, backward, countries with Communist leanings both doing their best to throw of the recent shackles of colonialism, The French in Vietnam and the Japanese in Korea, both countries which are now helping USA “contain China”.

The West won the Cold War against Russian Communists but, after Russia became a democracy, they decided they feared it anyway so they expanded NATO Eastwards, something they had promised not to do. This has led to another war that no one can win but a war in which USA won’t lose many of their own troops and where their corporations are profiting immensely.

Simply put, USA doesn’t want to play a game when it isn’t winning and their way of making sure they win is to flex the biggest muscles — right now, from a Chinese perspective, the US is still the biggest bully in the global yard but China, through economic growth, a relatively new but technologically superior military, as well as the largest navy ever to sail the seas is ensuring they won’t be for much longer.

Building a defensive navy, building hypersonic inter-continental ballistic weapons, increasing the number of nuclear deterrents (they still have only 6% of USA) and providing military with better technology for the purposes of defence may look aggressive but let history be the guide; solid defence is the best deterrent. After all, this is why Lloyd Austin is Secretary of Defense, and not Secretary of War.

Allies of the USA must make some serious decisions soon and to do so they must ask some very hard-hitting questions of themselves:

Is China really an enemy and what have they done to demonstrate this?

Is the USA really a force for peace and what have they done to demonstrate this?

Do they want to fight a war while USA supports them militarily and grows itself economically?

Who is their largest trading partner and who are they most likely to continue doing business with if there is no war?

The answers to those questions seem to be obvious and will dictate whether war is avoidable or inevitable.

Watch a video reading of this article here:



Jerry Grey

I’m British born Australian living in Guangdong and have an MA in Cross Cultural Change Management. I write mostly positively about my China experiences