Japan & Australia consider submarine deal that could rattle China

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, May 29, 2014.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    TOKYO/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Japan will get the chance to pursue an unprecedented military export deal when its defence and foreign ministers meet their Australian counterparts in Tokyo next month.

    Japan is considering selling submarine technology to Australia – perhaps even a fleet of fully engineered, stealthy vessels, according to Japanese officials. Sources on both sides say the discussions so far have encouraged a willingness to speed up talks.

    Any agreement would take months to negotiate and remains far from certain, but even a deal for Japan to supply technology would likely run to billions of dollars and represent a major portion of Australia's overall $37 billion (22.14 billion pounds) submarine program.

    It would also be bound to turn heads in China.

    Experts say a Japan-Australia deal would send a signal to Asia's emerging superpower of Japan's willingness, under nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to export arms to a region wary of China's growing naval strength, especially its pursuit of territorial claims in the East and South China seas.

    A deal would also help connect Japanese arms-makers like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries to the world market for big, sophisticated weaponry, a goal Abe sees as consistent with Japanese security.

    Abe has eased decades-old restrictions on Japan's military exports and is looking to give its military a freer hand in conflicts by changing the interpretation of a pacifist constitution that dates back to Japan's defeat in World War Two.

    "There’s a clear danger that aligning ourselves closely with Japan on a technology as sensitive as submarine technology would be read in China as a significant tightening in what they fear is a drift towards a Japan-Australia alliance," said Hugh White, a professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University. "It would be a gamble by Australia on where Japan is going to be 30 years from now."

    Australia’s proposed fleet of submarines is at the core of its long-term defence strategy. Although Canberra will not begin replacing its Collins-class vessels until the 2030s, the design work could take a decade or more and each submarine could take about five years to build, according to industry analysts.

    A final decision on the type and number of submarines Australia will build is expected to be made after a review due in March 2015.

    Australian officials have expressed an interest in the silent-running diesel-electric propulsion systems used in Japan’s Soryu diesel submarines, built by Mitsubishi Heavy and Kawasaki Heavy. Those vessels would give Australia a naval force that could reach deep into the Indian Ocean.

    More recently, Japanese military officials and lawmakers with an interest in defence policy have signalled a willingness to consider supplying a full version of the highly regarded Soryu to Australia if certain conditions can be met. These would include concluding a framework agreement on security policy with Canberra that would lock future Australian governments into an alliance with Japan, the officials said.

    Mitsubishi Heavy had no comment. Kawasaki Heavy said it had not been approached about any proposal regarding the Soryu and could not comment.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he favours boosting strategic cooperation with Japan. For their part, Australia’s military planners are similarly enthusiastic about cooperation as a means of hedging against an over-reliance on the United States, people with knowledge of their thinking said.

    ULTRA-QUIET

    The Soryu’s ultra-quiet drivetrain could avoid a problem that makes Australia’s six current submarines prone to detection, said sources with knowledge of the discussions in Australia.

    The Australian government has committed to building the A$40 billion ($37 billion) replacement for its Collins-class submarines at home. However, a government-commissioned report from U.S.-based think-tank Rand Corp found that Australia lacked enough engineers to design and build a vessel it said would be as complex as a space shuttle.

    "The likely practical approach is that Australia would partner with a foreign partner company and government," the report published last year said.

    Australian Defence Minister David Johnston met his Japanese counterpart, Itsunori Onodera, in Perth recently and the pair meet again in June in Tokyo along with foreign ministers. Abe will follow up with a trip to Australia in July, one of the sources in Tokyo said.

    Johnston said this month he believed the Soryu was the best conventional submarine in the world. He has also said he expects Japan and Australia will work together on research in marine hydrodynamics as an initial area of cooperation while working towards a "framework agreement" on military technology.

    It is possible that Australia could purchase submarine hulls from Germany or Sweden and then opt to buy Japanese drivetrains for the vessels, although that would add a layer of complexity and additional cost, officials said.

    Participants in a joint-development deal could also include Britain's BAE Systems and state-owned Australian Submarine Corp, which maintains the nation's current fleet.

    Australian Submarine Corp's head of strategy and communications, Sean Costello, said the ship-builder had hosted Japanese government officials at its shipyards in March 2013 but no technical discussions had yet taken place.

    BAE spokesman Mark Ritson said the British firm was keen to play a major role in Australia's submarine program and was in regular contact with the Australian government.

    In Japan, any submarine supply deal could face roadblocks.

    Some senior officials in Japan's maritime self-defence forces are wary of any joint development that could risk a leak of sensitive information about the identifying "signature" of Japanese submarines, one official in Tokyo said.

    However, exports would enable Japanese arms-makers to spread their costs over a bigger production base, making them more efficient. At the same time, Abe has pressed for a loosening of legal limits on Japan's military, including an end to a ban on helping allies under attack - though opinion polls show the Japanese public is divided on Abe's security policies.

    The Soryu submarines have a range of more than 11,000 km (6,800 miles) and come armed with Harpoon missiles designed to hit enemy ships operating over the horizon. The export or transfer of such lethal technology would be a first in Japan and could face political opposition.

    "It’s impossible for us to move quickly on this. It has to be a gradual cooperation," one Japanese official with knowledge of the discussions said.

    Japan & Australia consider submarine deal that could rattle China - World | The Star Online
     
    LETHALFORCE, apple, sob and 2 others like this.
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  3. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    What Kind of rattle China will go through ??..... enough of this China centric articles ..... no need to give that much importance for China.

    They are just an economic power who are implementing destructive policies both on economic, strategic and military front.

    Soon they will become normal and behave.
     
  4. apple

    apple Tihar Jail Banned

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    From what I understand, The Soryu class has alot of fans in the RAN/ Australian govt.

    Making submarines, as the article mentions, is very complex. Sizing up European designs, as happened with the Collins class, is apparently extremely costly and, once again, very complex. US/ UK designs don't met our requirements (we don't do nuclear). The Soryu is the only existing submarine that meets are specifications. But, trading in military equipment with Japan is a bit complex.

    Not sure if being serious ... :-/
     
  5. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    The game is letting a monster to do mistakes and showing to the whole world what it is upto and then hunting it with the support of nations around it.

    Chinese generals are delusional as their best.

    Down the lane 7 years from now it would be India that will become a leading nation in the East, Chinese are a goners.
     
  6. apple

    apple Tihar Jail Banned

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    Gotcha... Suspect the article may be scare mongering, as Australia's updating of her submarine fleet was announced ages ago and isn't anything new to the Chinese. But, maybe China has issues with the capabilities of Japan's military industries... on that, I have no idea
     
  7. apple

    apple Tihar Jail Banned

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  8. apple

    apple Tihar Jail Banned

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    New Japanese submarines to cost Abbott Government $20 billion

    Seems that Australia has bought, off the shelf, Japanese submarines. Well, not quite off the shelf, think they're mean to be delivered from 2030.

    The cost is "only" 20 billion, while making them ourselves would cost 40. Conversely, this will probably lead to the loss of 3,000 very highed skilled jobs. Conversely, conversely (if that's a phrase) the subs should work properly when we receive them i.e. the Japanese have a good reputation for delivering quality equipment.

    Apparently, this is Japan's first ever sale of a major weapons system.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    This buy is a very anti Chinese action and a provocatively aggressive gesture, more so, since some claim that China and Australia are two peas in a pod. or words to that effect.
     
  10. Otm Shank

    Otm Shank Regular Member

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    Great more competition for india in the indian ocean
     
  11. apple

    apple Tihar Jail Banned

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    We'd already announced that we'd be replacing our present submarines by 2030, the purchase isn't provocative. Although yes, the submarines target No.1 would be the Chinese. Strongly suspect that the majority i.e maybe 4 of the 6, of the people in the world who consider China and Australia "peas in the same pod" are posters on this forum.

    Not sure in which alternate universe the RAN and Indian Navy are competitors, but sure half (I think???) Australia's submarines are based in the Indian Ocean. While, unsurprisingly, I'm neither the chief of the RAN nor understand the capabilities of Australia's submarines, suspect our subs are based in Perth because it's closer to the Malay Straits, and potentially the Middle East than Sydney. There not there to operate outside Mumbai Harbour.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    From the incoherence of your post, it is obvious that you are not aware of current events.

    If the buying of subs is not aggressive an action for China, then why did China make a song and a dance over a few US troops being based in North Australia and who would be rotated regularly?

    The Straits of Malacca is becoming redundant with the canal on the Kra Isthmus.

    [​IMG]

    But then you would not know since you are just a common uninterested and average Aussie and not the PM or the Chief of the RAN. ;) :) :pound:
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  13. apple

    apple Tihar Jail Banned

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    I, indeed, was not aware that Thailand was making a canal. Seems to be one of history's more ridiculous engineering projects. It will cut out, what... 1,000 km, of travel from China to Europe. It will make 0% change to shipping lanes and has little/ no relevance to where Australia's submarines would be situated to interdict shipping. You're mentioning it because???

    To state, once again, Australia had announced ages ago that we would renew our submarine fleet by 2030. It's not news, nor is it provocative. Instead of making them ourselves, we are going to buy them. Interestingly, we will be buying them from Japan, which I'd thought was the topic of this thread.

    The decision to allow American soliders to be based Darwin, is a more recent development. Isn't there a thread here about that?

    The only relevance your comments have to this thread is to disabuse some morons of the notion that Australia and China are "two peas in a pod", which is something Australians and Chinese are in no way confused about.
     
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I am mention it because I understand geostrategy which you obviously don't as is so evident by your query.

    The canal in the Isthmus of Kra would change the geostrategic equation and where the Australian Navy bases her sub will become irrelevant., that is, if the depth and width can take commercial and naval vessles the size of a super aircraft carrier/ super tanker. That is to be seen, but given the Chinese, they will ensure it so.

    Renew not only your subs, but also your country for what one cares.

    There are threads on a variety of issues, but geostrategy and geopolitics are are seen as a holity by those who know. Though I will concede that those who are illiterate see things in isolation in segments.

    I thought you were trying to build the view that Australia and China are two peas in the pod when you went ballistic about the Australian politician who thought otherwise.

    Are you admitting that you are a moron when you state -some morons of the notion that Australia and China are "two peas in a pod", which is something Australians and Chinese are in no way confused about?
     
  15. apple

    apple Tihar Jail Banned

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    Please stop your ascription of what you think I believe. Can't remember you even getting close so far.

    If the Thai canal opens, as I stated, the shipping lanes don't change. Ships going past Singapore/ Malay Peninsular will continue to go to either the north, or the south, of Sumatra.

    You're just trying to seem clever, attempting to make me look stupid, by mentioning something irrelevant.

    As was saying in the thread, just stop Ray. Enjoy your weekend
     
  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Why are you acting the goat?

    If there is a shorter route, who in the name of dickens would go through a long route?

    Do nations go through the Cape of Good Hope or through the Suez Canal?

    Or go around Cape Horn instead of Panama Canal?

    You are acting stupid and a goat, if you permit me the expression.

    You astound me with your illiterate statements.

     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  17. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    And that hype of Kra Canal was called a bluff long ago. :D

    Thailand itself is an ally of the US. Taksin, Yingluck… civilian governments in and out, now a military regime in power. never will Thai be able to advance that canal program. :cool:

    Sent from my 5910 using Tapatalk 2
     
  18. apple

    apple Tihar Jail Banned

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    The Thai canal is a totally irrelevance.

    A) Are the ships going to be going their full speed down the canal?
    B) Does it even make any difference as both entrances to the canal are in the same shipping lanes that boats would have always used.
    C) Is the canal even built?
    D) Come WW3, who's going to be using that canal?

    Stop to think a bit before posting Ray and check your ego when people are pointing out you're wrong.

    Stop crayoning over the thread.


    Don't bother trying to talk sense to him.
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No ships will crawl in the Isthmus of Kra canal.

    Check what the Chinese are doing.

    Don't be blind like a bat.

    Don't let the 'Peaceful Rise' specialist @amoy bluff and lull all again and then rise to kick you in the teeth.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China Firms to Lead Canal Building in Thailand

    BEIJING, Mar 13, 2014 (Menafn - SinoCast Daily Business Beat via COMTEX) --Thailand has had ideas to build a canal in Kra Isthmus long time ago, however, failed to implement the plan limited by labor forces and material resources.

    With the progress of partnership between China and the ASEAN, Kra Canal may become reality. A work team formed by Chinese companies including Sany Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (shse:600031), Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group Co., Ltd. (XCMG) and Guangxi Liugong Machinery Co., Ltd. (szse:000528) has begun operation.

    Kra Canal is situated in Indo-China Peninsula, as planned, will cut through Indian Ocean and Gulf of Thailand, lengthening 100 kilometers as longest manual canal in Asia.

    After opening of Kra Canal, trades between the ASEAN and the world will no longer go through Strait of Malacca, because Kra Canal is more than 1,000 kilometers shorter and will save shipping and time costs greatly. By then, the ASEAN, China and even Japan and the whole world will benefit from the canal.

    China Firms to Lead Canal Building in Thailand | MENAFN.com

    [​IMG]http://mil.news.sina.com.cn/2014-03-13/1119768586.html%EF%BC%88Report
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China’s “Malacca Dilemma”

    Publication: China Brief Volume: 6 Issue: 8December 31, 1969 07:00 PM Age: 45 yrs
    By: Ian Storey
    Energy security, and particularly oil supply security, has become a major concern for the Chinese government over the past several years. The focus of this anxiety is the vulnerability of seaborne energy imports. At present, China lacks the naval power necessary to protect its sea lanes of communication (SLOCs). Beijing fears that during a national security crisis ships carrying energy resources could be interdicted by hostile naval forces. Any disruption to the free flow of energy resources into China could derail the economic growth on which the Chinese government depends to shore-up its legitimacy and pursue its great power ambitions.



    China’s heavy use of the Malacca and Lombok/Makassar straits in Southeast Asia is emblematic of this concern. The Malacca Strait is a narrow and congested waterway separating Indonesia and Malaysia, with Singapore located at its southern tip. As the shortest route between the Indian and Pacific oceans, the strait is one of the world’s most important waterways. More than 60,000 vessels transit the strait each year, carrying 25 percent of global trade. The Lombok/Makassar Strait passes through the Indonesian archipelago and is used mainly by Very Large Crude Carriers. In terms of volume of oil shipped, this route is of near equivalent importance to the better known Malacca Strait.



    For China, the strategic significance of these straits increases every year. At present, approximately 60 percent of China’s crude oil imports originate in the Middle East, and this figure is expected to rise to 75 percent by 2015. Oil from the Persian Gulf and Africa is shipped to the PRC via the Malacca or Lombok/Makkasar straits. Over the past few years Chinese leaders have come to view the straits, especially the Malacca Strait, as a strategic vulnerability. In November 2003 President Hu Jintao declared that “certain major powers” were bent on controlling the strait, and called for the adoption of new strategies to mitigate the perceived vulnerability. Thereafter, the Chinese press devoted considerable attention to the country’s “Malacca dilemma,” leading one newspaper to declare: “It is no exaggeration to say that whoever controls the Strait of Malacca will also have a stranglehold on the energy route of China” (China Youth Daily, June 15, 2004).



    Over the past 18 months the Malacca Strait has attracted the attention of security analysts for reasons other than China’s oil supply security. During 2003-2004 the straits witnessed an upsurge in pirate attacks. Perceived lax security in the strait engendered concerns that transnational terrorist groups might link up with pirates to disrupt maritime traffic and hence global commerce. International criticism led the littoral states (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore) to step-up strait security through the establishment of coordinated air and naval patrols. As a result of these and other initiatives, the number of pirate attacks in the area declined in 2005. Yet piracy and other transnational threats in the strait remain major concerns. Due to sensitivities over sovereignty, Indonesia and Malaysia have firmly rejected the idea of external powers such as the U.S., Japan or India permanently stationing military forces in the strait. They have welcomed help from external powers, however, in the form of capacity building, intelligence exchanges, and training.



    As a heavy user of the Malacca Strait, the PRC has a vested interest in the elimination of transnational threats in the waterway. Yet Beijing remains uneasy at the prospect of a greater role for external powers in securing the strait. Chinese security analysts have accused the U.S. and Japan of using the threat of terrorism as a pretext to expand their naval presence in and around the strait. The PRC has also watched with concern India’s enhanced presence in the area, especially the modernization of military facilities on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands located near the northern entrance to the Malacca Strait. Some Chinese newspaper commentaries have bordered on the paranoid. For instance, when the United States restored the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program to Indonesia last year, one Chinese newspaper accused U.S.-Indonesia military cooperation as “targeting China” and aimed “at controlling China’s avenue of approach to the Pacific” (Takungpao, March 7, 2005). Nevertheless, China does not want to be left out and has offered the littoral states its assistance to improve security in the strait. At a meeting held in Jakarta in September 2005 to discuss strait security, Ju Chengzi, director general of China’s Ministry of Transportation, said the PRC government was willing to assist the littoral states with capacity building, technical support, training programs, hydrographic surveys, and navigation aids (Xinhua, September 7, 2005). More specific details have yet to be released.



    Meanwhile, China is pursuing a number of options to mitigate its dependence on oil imports and reduce the country’s strategic vulnerabilities. In an effort to reduce import dependence, the PRC continues to rely on domestically produced coal for its energy needs. Beijing has also emphasized energy conservation and efficiency, the expansion of nuclear power generation, and the development of alternative and renewable energy supplies. In 2004 construction began on four Strategic Petroleum Stockpile (SPS) facilities on China’s eastern seaboard capable of stockpiling 20 to 30 days supply of oil imports. Two more are likely to be built in Guangdong province and another on Hainan Island.



    New Transit Routes



    As a means to reduce strategic vulnerabilities, the PRC is diversifying its sources of energy imports away from the Middle East and is considering financing transit routes that would bypass the Malacca Strait altogether. Yet all of the proposals involve significant financial outlays, technical problems, and security concerns. The most fanciful proposal thus far has been to construct a canal across the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand. The idea of an “Asian Panama Canal” linking the Andaman Sea with the Gulf of Thailand, and hence the Indian and Pacific oceans, has been around for centuries. First suggested in 1677, the idea has been revisited at least a dozen times since then. Yet on each occasion the project has been shelved due to lack of financial resources, technical difficulties and security problems. The idea was most recently revisited in 2001. Proponents envisaged a two-lane canal, an east-west highway running parallel, and harbors, oil refineries and storage facilities at each end (Bangkok Post, July 6, 2003). The canal, it was argued, would create jobs, generate revenue in the form of transit fees and oil refining, and benefit the global economy because ships could save 3-4 days sailing time by avoiding the Malacca Strait.



    Initially the idea seemed to arouse great interest in the PRC. Beijing, however, baulked at the estimated $20-25 billion price tag. In 2003 the government of Thaksin Shinawatra effectively killed the project when it declared it would not provide any financial support for the proposed canal. Instead, the Thaksin government championed the Strategic Energy Land Bridge (SELB), a 150-mile underground oil pipeline across southern Thailand. At an estimated cost of $600-800 million the SELB would cost a fraction of the Kra Canal. The PRC has expressed an interest in the project, although its enthusiasm seems to have waned somewhat because of cost concerns and escalating political violence in Thailand’s southern provinces (The Nation, February 14, 2005). Moreover, the SELB would not really lessen the vulnerability of seaborne energy imports into the PRC, as tankers would still have to sail to and from Thailand, therefore merely shifting the focus of the problem slightly.



    As far as China is concerned, it would be far better if oil deliveries could be made closer to home. With this in mind, Beijing is giving serious consideration to two large infrastructure projects. The first is a 750-mile pipeline from Sittwe in Burma to Kunming in Yunnan province, with an estimated cost around $2 billion (Asia Times, September 23, 2004). A Burma-China pipeline is appealing to Beijing for two reasons. First, oil tankers from the Middle East and Africa would be able to bypass the Malacca Strait by sailing directly to Sittwe. Second, the project is politically appealing given the close links between Rangoon and Beijing. Talks between the Chinese and Burmese governments on the feasibility of the project began in mid-2004. Then in December 2005 the Burmese junta signed a deal with PetroChina to supply 6.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to the PRC over a 30 year period. It was reported that the gas would be transferred to China via a pipeline to Kunming (Straits Times, February 2). If a gas pipeline is constructed, it is likely that China would also build an oil pipeline running parallel.



    Another proposal is to transfer oil and gas from Pakistan into China’s Xinjiang province. This route would involve oil tankers off-loading their cargoes at the Pakistani port of Gwadar, a facility heavily financed by the PRC government (China Brief, February 15, 2005). Energy resources would then be transported by road, or more likely rail or a pipeline, to Islamabad 900 miles to the north. From there, the energy supplies would be sent a further 750 miles to Kashi (Kashgar) in Xinjiang province along the Karakoram Highway that links Pakistan with China. Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has pushed the idea of a China-Pakistan “energy corridor” for several years now, arguing that the Pakistani economy would benefit from the construction of oil refineries and oil and gas storage and transshipment facilities, while China would gain an alternative to the Malacca Strait.



    A China-Pakistan energy corridor would be an expensive proposition for Beijing given the long distances and rugged terrain involved. Gwadar’s Baluchistan province is also prone to separatist violence. At the geopolitical level, however, the proposal is attractive for two reasons. First, Gwadar is very close to the Persian Gulf and all maritime choke points save for the Strait of Hormuz would be effectively bypassed. Second, Pakistan is a close ally of the PRC. Accordingly, the Chinese leadership seems to be taking the proposal seriously. During President Musharraf’s visit to China in February 2006, the two sides agreed in principle to upgrade the Karakoram Highway. Chinese press reports speculated on the feasibility of a pipeline running alongside the upgraded highway (Shiji Jingji Baodao, February 24). China and Pakistan also signed an energy cooperation framework agreement. According to the joint statement issued at the end of Musharraf’s trip, China agreed to help Pakistan develop oil refineries, natural gas terminals, and oil and gas storage and transit facilities (Xinhua, February 24).



    The solution to China’s Malacca dilemma consists of three parts: reducing import dependence through energy efficiencies and harnessing alternative sources of power, investment in the construction of pipelines that bypass the Malacca Strait, and building credible naval forces capable of securing China’s SLOCs. Each of these components is expensive, time consuming and problematic. In the meantime, China will have to contend with the dilemmas and insecurities posed by its dependence on the public goods provided by the U.S. Navy.

    China’s “Malacca Dilemma” | The Jamestown Foundation
     

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