Mr. Trump pledged to help the US Navy catch up with China in shipbuilding capacity

Former President Trump vowed to improve the US Navy's shipbuilding capacity to compete with China if he is elected.

In a radio interview on April 4, former US President Donald Trump was asked whether he intended to strengthen the US Navy's shipbuilding capacity to compete with rivals such as China. "Yes, we intended to do so and are on track to achieve this goal," Mr. Trump said, referring to his time in office.

Mr. Trump said the US then had great talent and was preparing to build "unbelievable ships".

"And then he appeared and canceled it all," he said, referring to current US President Joe Biden. "He doesn't know what he's doing. The Chinese shipbuilding industry is sending an unprecedented message."

Former US President Donald Trump spoke in Georgia on March 9. Photo: AP

In its 2023 China Military Power Report, the Pentagon said Beijing has about 370 warships. Washington officials predict this number will increase to 395 by 2025 and 435 by 2030.

Meanwhile, the US Navy currently has 370 ships, expected to increase to a maximum of 367 by 2052. Leaked intelligence report from September 2023 of the US Navy shows the capacity of Beijing's shipyards has a capacity of 23.2 million tons, while this number in the US is less than 100,000 tons.

The US Navy recently announced the delay of a series of important weapons programs due to lack of budget, including the project to build the SSN(X) submarine, a weapon expected to help Washington dominate the seabed. The ship was originally scheduled to begin construction in 2031, but was later delayed to 2035, before being postponed again to 2040.

Rajan Menon, an expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that although China cannot take America's number one position at sea in the near future, Beijing's constant strengthening of its naval capabilities still causes problems. Great pressure on Washington, especially on US warships operating in the Pacific.

"Moreover, China's capacity in this field will almost certainly continue to increase in both quality and quantity," he said.

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R.Ford (before) and Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Mediterranean in November 2023. Photo: US Navy

Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden will fight again in the US presidential election later this year. Newly released poll results show that Mr. Trump is leading Mr. Biden in 6 important battleground states, in the context of many American voters expressing concerns about the current administration's way of running the economy.

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