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China's "far sea defense" and the "signal drama of the age"

This New York Times story from a couple of days ago is worth noting.  The discussion about China and its navy, is becoming a bit more public and a lot more interesting.  Despite China's continentalist past, it looks like China has embarked on a genuine maritime transformation. NYT:  "Now, Chinese admirals say they want warships to escort commercial vessels that are crucial to the country's economy, from as far as the Persian Gulf to the Strait of Malacca, in Southeast Asia, and to help secure Chinese interests in the resource-rich South and East China Seas.  In late March, two Chinese warships docked in Abu Dhabi, the first time the modern Chinese Navy made a port visit in the Middle East"  Also note this article, "China Sets Sail,"  by Ericson, Goldstein, and Lord, in the current issue of The American Interest (subscription required), as well as Robert Kaplan's "The Geography of Chinese Power" in the current issue of Foreign Affairs (Subscription required).
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Hmmm... I wonder if this is China's way of preparing for (or warning against) any possible (although unlikely) U.S. naval embargo of Iran's gasoline imports in the coming months?

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