HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM?
Today Italy, Tomorrow the World
The Chinese Navy training vessel the ZHENGHE arrived in Taranto, Italy today for a five day port visit. This port visit is just one in its around the world cruise now well underway. One training ship of course, does not make the "Great White Fleet" that announced America's presence as a primer global naval power. A world cruise is of course, easiest to perform with a training vessel which is not subject to routine deployments, or in possession of great combat capabilities. While training vessels can be impressive on a port visit, they are not "ships of line" but rather the more easily spared elements of a growing , but not quite ready for prime time navy.
None the less, the world cruise of the ZHENGHE is a clear signal in our opinion of China's intent to become a first rate naval power if not a peer navy eventually of the United States.