Understanding China


China 173 billion dollars on military spending? Who knows what the actual figure is as they are about as forthcoming as the USA on such matters but they have a long way to go to catch up to the USA’s annual admitted 600 billion of military spending though the actual is probably closer to one trillion.I wouldn’t worry much about China’s military spending. It’s less of their GDP than the USA’s. They could well be using their much smaller percent of GDP military spending to goad the USA into spending even more and bankrupting themselves


That is how US and their NATO allies won the Cold War, forcing the Soviet Union to spend more on their military than they could afford, at the expense of social services for their population, education, health care etc.

See a similarity with the present US situation?? The big difference is that it is not an external threat that make the US over spend on their military. It is a fear of no longer beinge top dog in the world, a belief that things can be brought back to “the good old days” of American superiority and excessive nationalism.

The latest development of firing another “adult in the playpen” of Washington and replacing him with a Neo-conservative known hawk and war monger as the Presidential whisperer doesn’t auger well for world peace.


remind me what China is doing for world peace, the whole of SE asia is getting pissed off.
So I’m on a rig off on the corner of Brunei and Sabah about 60miles off the coast and a Chinese vessel is there will loud hailer telling us to get out of Chinese water…


A bit of trivia…Japan first started by making dolls and then progressed to really good products.


Japan didn’t start by making dolls. The cheap toys were not a reflection of their abilities but rather a method encouraged by Gen. MacArthur to use available materials (used tin cans etc.) to start bringing some cash into the wrecked country after the war.

These are the people who built one of the finest aircraft in WWII, and who were already at that time rivaling Germany for optics. Their ships were equipped with night binoculars (I grew up with half of one of them, beautifully made, about three feet long with ~6" objective) that allowed them to see us when we were sure it was too dark to do so. We took the sport out of it with radar, but that’s rather beside the point


The Philippines has a similar problem with Chinese over reach. Don’t know what the answer is. The Philippine folks made noises and the Chinese backed off for a bit. Doubt Brunei will try that but they may just ignore them which is probably the best course. Since the EU and USA have no comprehensible strategic plan for the area I guess SE Asia will have to work it out among themselves which may not be a bad idea for everyone.


There’s not gonna be any working it out. China will take what they want when they want as there is no one there capable of stopping them. Like I said before, they will continue to push and push until someone capable pushes back. Then there will be an armed conflict. I don’t see any other way this can go.


Regarding your statement. Substitute the word China for USA and you’ll begin to understand why the rest of the world has a bit of an attitude towards the USA.
Armed conflict is not a good idea with countries possessing nuclear weapons. MAD, mutually assured destruction is not an option for rational people.


Are you talking about something that actually happened, or a hypothetical possibility that it MAY happen one day.
If the first, where you there to witness it, or heard it from someone that knew someones uncle that was there?

I don’t know if there have ever been any confrontation between Chinese and Brunei vessels, or rigs .

I haven’t been offshore Brunei for a few years now, but as far as I know there aren’t activity that far offshore. Here is fairly recent map of Brunei Offshore fields:


Yes, China started off by making cheap junk for the US and European market. In fact, they still do since there is a market for it still. But that is history and of little interest to what China is capable of and actually doing today.

Some years ago I inspected a Crane vessel that was built in China. It was originally ordered by a Chinese Offshore Construction Company, but purchased before completion by a Singapore company.
It was designed and built by ZMPC, as was the 4000 m.t. SWL revolving crane. Majority of the machinery and equipment were of Chinese origin, although some from branches of foreign manufacturers, like ABB for the electric motors and VFC units etc., and Furuno for the communication equipment.

As part of the suitability survey I went up on the main crane where I met the “Big Rig Operator”, who were a Texan. I asked him how he like his new crane; “Best crane I have ever operated”.

China today is the largest single economy in terms of GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), with the world’s largest middle class, propertied class, number of world travelling tourists.
China also have the world’s largest foreign exchange reserve, and a world leader in renewable energy investment and actual output.

China have taken over US’s role as the champion of multilateralism and globalization, which is what “Made America Great” in the first place, but now is seen as bad for some obscure reason.
To fight against development is not going to “Make America Great Again”.


If we look at military spending in term of “per capita” it becomes even more lopsided;

  • USD 173 Bn / 1.4 Bn population = USD 123.6/pers./yr
  • USD 600 Bn /320 Mill. population = USD 1.875/pers./yr.

With the amount of suff China sell to US consumers I would think it likely that each Americans pay more towards Chinese defence than the average Chinese, bearing in mind that most Chinese doesn’t pay any income tax.

With the military spending level in US increasing, China may well “win” without firing a shot.


If you believe the numbers that China tells the world they are spending on their military is anywhere near reality and that their latest move in folding their Coast Guard into the military is benign, I have a great investment opportunity for you. Just let me have your bank account number and I’ll take care of the details.


And if you believe the numbers that the US is telling you are being used on the military are all there is, you need to get your head examined.

Subsidies being paid to the Defence Industry, overtly and covertly, is not counted, nor is the cost of MARAD and their mothballed fleet, I believe.
If that is the only things that goes to the defence of US world hegemony is everybody’s guess.

I believe the USCG has been a part of the Navy since inception and used in roles and places that doesn’t normally belong to a coast guard?

BTW;Chinese CG vessels are not armed with heavy guns and Cruise missilies


China runs on very cheap labor, and in many cases slave labor, so of course their costs are low.

China also steals everyone else’s intellectual property, instead of doing their own R&D.

The US stupidly subsidized China by allowing these ridiculous trade deficits and blatant theft for the last 30 years.

The US has subsidized Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Europe with trade deficits for 70 years.

It long past time to put an end to these giveaways. Time to put America First.


Yes I spent 2 years out there drilling.
Some wildcat holes on the Sabah side of the border right near the corner.
They didnt come into the existing fields
Malaysian Navy used to come out and push them away in small boats.
Yes it was white painted Chinese Coast Guard vessels


Where have I heard that mantra before??
Actually the US had near monopoly of trade in manufactured goods for the first decades after WWII because they did not suffer and damages and built up formidable industrial capacity in support of the war effort.
Did the Americans complain when they had everything and everybody else had rationing on even bare necessities, like food, cloths and gasoline??

When I first went to sea in 1959 we got a small allowance when visiting US ports because everything was very expensive there. US seamen and workers were paid enormously more than Europeans, so no problem for them. Did we complain, or feel envious? NO. It was “just how things were”.

You want to blamed the Chinese for working for less then Americans and sell the fruit of their labour cheaply to overfed Americans, while financing their purchases by buying US Treasury Bonds?

FYI: China is catching up on R&D expenditure:

And bypassing USA in Scientific output:

Maybe they manage to get more back for their R&D expenditure.


I have to admit the Japanese will study somebodies tech then go home and spend years trying to improve it.
The chinese just want to steal it.
There has been some horrendous stuff not printed in the newspaper of the Chinese breaking into tech companies, breaking into hotel safes and stealing laptops from expats in China etc etc.
In the UK and USA the gov monitors the internet connections to tech companies ( i’m sure others do it) the Chinese constantly trying to get in.


Yes I saw a rig working across the line (for Elf I believe?) when working for Murphy and visiting Kikeh Field. I never saw any Chinese CG vessels though, only a lot of tiny fishing boats that even got under the rig and tender.They even tied up to the Spar and the rudder stem of the FPSO. (All Malaysian)

Never heard of any incidents with CCG either, although I was engage to write a Marine Procedures Manual for the field and should have been told of anything like that.


Shell. Total and Inpex
Some of the drillers had worked in Vietnam and said there was always a Chinese sub around the rig

China might need to war to fix its internal problems.
They are about to limit the headcount in the cities so sending the poor back to the countryside.


Of course not, it’s spaghetti on the wall. It doesn’t change anything.