The International Herald Tribune
China's gunboat diplomacy
It is also a precious chance for others - especially the United States and India - to build maritime security cooperation with China before Beijing forms any risky habit of solo military forays. China has long been a free rider on the ocean highways. It has enjoyed the benefits of maritime trade and energy routes, so vital to its economic boom, while other countries' navies have kept them open. Yet with growing wealth, pride and ambition come expectations that Beijing will contribute to the safety of an interdependent world. It was only a matter of time before China, along with the other awakening giant India, joined the club of maritime security providers, using their fleets simultaneously for self-interest and the common good, whether fighting piracy, interdicting smuggling or delivering disaster relief.