With lax labor laws and rapidly growing shipbuilding capacity, a United States Navy (USN) official said on Tuesday China could out-produce the United States in warship construction—and he might be just right.

USN Secretary Carlos Del Toro spoke at a National Press Club Headliners luncheon in Washington, DC, about the persistent endeavors of Beijing “to violate the maritime sovereignty and economic well-being of other nations,” especially to allies situated around the highly-disputed South China Sea.

Carlos Del Toro
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro speaking during a ceremony at Mahan Hall in Annapolis, Maryland, February 17, 2023. (Image source: DVIDS)

Because of its rapidly growing naval fleet, China has become more daring and aggressive in its military expansion and activities near the waters it claims to be historically theirs, which, if ignored, could spiral out of control.

They got a larger fleet now so they’re deploying that fleet globally,” Del Toro said, stressing more than ever the urgent need for the modernization and shipbuilding expansion of the US Fleet. “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.”