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Huge Chinese military shipyard rapidly expanding

Jiangnan Shipyard in China (SteKrueBe/WikiCommons)
December 28, 2018

Over the past 10 years, a key shipyard in China has quickly built up under the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to satellite images, there has been a colossal military transformation at the Jiangnan Shipyard, CNN reported.

The shipyard, situated off of the Yangtze River, has increased some 64 percent since first opening in 2008. It was measured as 2.7 square miles in 2011, and is now 4.4 square miles in 2018.

Matthew Funaiole, fellow at the CSIS’s China Power Project, told CNN, “Jiangnan is responsible for some of China’s most advanced warships … The assets produced at the shipyard form an important part of the PLAN’s (People’s Liberation Army Navy’s) modernization.”

New production and fabrication facilities have been completed in the military area of the shipyard, with the commercial area remaining unchanged.

Xi Jinping has concentrated on quickly growing the Chinese navy as well as bringing it up-to-date, having built 32 new ships between 2016 and 2017.

In April, Xi Jinping spoke from one of the newest ships about the imperative necessity for a robust navy. He said the need has “never been as urgent” and promised to deliver a “world-class force.”

Satellite pictures focused on the Jiangnan Shipyard have indicated that China is the building of state-of-the-art vessels. Photos were captured of several Type 055 guided-missile destroyers, which are the most advanced and deadly warships known to Asia.

China’s military has strengthened, and their vessel manufacturing has improved.

While the U.S. appears to have a lead in quality, hardships suffered by U.S. fleets in recent years have been nothing short of damning.

In 2017, the U.S. Navy suffered several tragic accidents that cost almost 20 sailors their lives from issues with budget and outdated procedures and principles, according to the Washington Times.

  • In May 2017, the USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel.
  • In June 2017, the USS Fitzgerald crashed into a Philippine vessel off the coast of Japan, killing seven sailors.
  • In August 2017, the USS McCain and an oil tanker crashed in Singapore and 10 sailors lost their lives.

These incidents warranted Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson to direct a 48-hour hold on all operations to investigate the collisions.

There are also issues with a declining reputation for the U.S. Navy and run-down shipyards. Government assessments expect repair efforts to take “decades.”

Funaiole said, “The ships being commissioned by China are increasingly of modern design … China’s navy is also now larger than the active fleet of the US Navy. The gap may continue to widen in the coming years.”