US can’t keep up with China’s warship building, Navy Secretary says

China’s navy has significant advantages over its US rival, including a bigger fleet and greater shipbuilding capacity, as Beijing seeks to project its power across the oceans, the head of the United States Navy said Tuesday.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said China “consistently attempts to violate the maritime sovereignty and economic well-being of other nations including our allies in the South China Sea and elsewhere.”

“They got a larger fleet now so they’re deploying that fleet globally,” he said, adding that Washington must upgrade the US fleet in response.

“We do need a larger Navy, we do need more ships in the future, more modern ships in the future, in particular that can meet that threat,” he said.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy could be fielding up to 400 ships in the coming years, the Navy secretary said – up from about 340 now.

Meanwhile, the US fleet sits at under 300 ships.

According to the US Navy’s Navigation Plan 2022 released last summer, the Pentagon’s goal is to have 350 manned ships by 2045 – still well short of the projection for China’s fleet.