Asian Nations Arming for Underwater War

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When U.S. President Donald Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the U.S. had two submarines in the waters near Korea, it began a controversy over whether sharing the subs’ location was a leak of classified information and a security risk. A submarine’s ability to remain hidden is its greatest asset, and Asian countries are increasingly willing to pay for that capability. Avascent Analytics estimates that Asian countries will spend nearly $40 billion on submarines over the next 10 years.

This purchase trend is not a new one, and coincides with the recovery of Asian economies from the 1997 and 2008 financial crises and the rise of China as a world power. While many experts point to China’s growing military ambitions as the primary cause for submarine proliferation in Asia, there are several other factors in play, including rivalry among neighbors and national prestige.

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