‘Each Chinese Ship Is a Ship of War’

China is now a leading maritime power, and it’s only getting started.

Could China choke international commerce? Looking only at its 350 People’s Liberation Army Navy warships, analysts say no. But a new report by the Belgian Royal Higher Institute for Defense takes China’s total maritime power into account, and it answers with an alarming yes.

The report’s author, Jonathan Holslag, told the Times on Dec. 26, 2022, that China can use not only its growing navy but also its civilian vessels and its control of ports and other global shipping infrastructure. It shows from Chinese government documents that ships now built for cargo, ice-breaking, fishing or ferrying must be built to military specifications, with military-grade navigation and communication systems and the capacity to transport troops and, for vessels large enough, tanks and amphibious craft.

“[A]ll civilian maritime assets must be able to support military operations,” the report states. “In other words, every asset in the maritime sector is considered a potential military asset; every ship a warship.”

This is particularly alarming given the fact that China now builds 41 percent of the world’s vessels, launching more than 1,000 oceangoing ships each year.

The Chinese Communist Party is actively preparing for the day when thousands of crews will switch to combat mode.

China is also boosting its control over key ports around the world. Government-controlled maritime companies such as China Ocean Shipping Co. (cosco), China Merchants Group, China Harbor Engineering Co. and CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. are amassing control over such ports as Hamburg, Germany; Piraeus, Greece; Le Havre, France; Antwerp, Belgium; Zeebrugge, Belgium; Thameside, England; Felixstowe, England; Obock, Djibouti; Gwadar, Pakistan; Veracruz, Mexico; Santiago de Cuba; the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal.

Regarding China’s takeover of the ports at either end of the Panama Canal, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his 2021 booklet China’s Dangerous Move Against America: “Any student of military strategy should see the startling possibilities that this terrible Chinese deal opened up. An enterprise of China—the nation possessing the world’s largest army, which is aggressively expanding its navy and air force—took control of the major sea-transit gateway between East and West. … The wartime implications of that are alarming!”

The Belgian Royal Higher Institute for Defense report shows that this fleet of merchant ships and constellation of ports has given China control over nearly a third of all maritime trade, including 12 percent of crude oil tankers, 13 percent of total liquefied natural gas shipments and 18 percent of all container transports. “China has vast maritime power,” it states, and “considers maritime power as an important building block of its national power and crucial for its national economic security. … Contrary to other countries, most of its maritime assets are controlled by the state.”

The Chinese regime’s focus on shipbuilding and influence over the world’s ports will only grow stronger.

The report’s main conclusion was that it is “crucial for Europe’s security and prosperity” to “critically evaluate” its vulnerability to China’s alarming maritime power. But Bible prophecy shows that Europe will actually ally with China, and the main victims of China’s tightening grip over global shipping will be the United States and Britain.

Some 2,700 years ago, the Prophet Isaiah warned of a massive trade bloc that would form in our lifetimes, a “mart of nations” (Isaiah 23:3).

Verse 1 says a lead nation in this bloc will be “Chittim.” Mr. Flurry explains in his book Isaiah’s End-Time Vision (free upon request), “Kittim is synonymous with the Chittim of Isaiah’s prophecy. … After their migration through Central Asia, the Kittim made their appearance in modern-day northeastern China and Mongolia under the name of Khitan in the fourth century a.d. ….”

Isaiah 23 names “Tyre” as another leading power in this bloc. Mr. Flurry explains that this city represents “the commercial center” of modern Europe.

A companion passage in Ezekiel 27 mentions ancient names referring to modern Russia, Japan and other nations, showing that they too will be part of this massive trade alliance.

“The Bible contains many prophecies of that European power attacking America—and many other prophecies of America being besieged,” Mr. Flurry writes (ibid). Among them is Deuteronomy 28:52, which warns: “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down ….”

Mr. Flurry explains that this besiegement will be conducted by the mart of nations. “China and the giants of Asia” will join briefly with the European bloc. “All of them are going to besiege America, Britain and the Jewish nation,” he writes.

“Should Europe, the resurrected Holy Roman Empire, find a way to take advantage—even for a moment—of key resources and strategic holdings of China, Russia and Japan, it would have more than enough power to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations …. This is why Isaiah’s prophecy of an end-time ‘mart of nations’ that includes both European and Asian powers is so intriguing. And why the trend of collusion between these two great economic blocs is worth watching.”