Thursday, June 30, 2005

This is disturbing

The Washington Times has this item about a recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) by the Chinese.

It's no secret that the Chinese are working to acquire a "blue-water navy" (i.e., one that can project power beyond its littoral). Now, one reason they may be seeking such a capacity may be to defend their Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs). With China's voracious and growing appetite for oil, they are jumping into bed with any and all regimes that can help provide energy resources. Sudan, Nigeria, Chad, Turkmenistan. Anyone. Doesn't matter who as long as they can provide oil or gas. Just look at the Chinese National Overseas Oil Corporation's (CNOOC) $2 billion dollar raise on Chevron's bid for Unocal.

So, one could look at this test and say that the Chinese are merely seeking to keep their trade routes open, especially the vital Strait of Malacca between Indonesia (a volatile, almost unstable country) and Malaysia, through which much of China's imported oil passes.

But does anyone think for a second that it hasn't occurred to the Chinese that an SLBM with a range of 6,000 miles might also be a useful tool in countering USPACOM's ability to project power in the region and defend Taiwan from Chinese threats?

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