Editorials

Keep China away from our warships

Ingalls builds a lot of ships for the U.S. Navy.
Ingalls builds a lot of ships for the U.S. Navy.

We have to agree with Washington Post writer Josh Rogin.

Rogin’s column on Ingalls Shipbuilding’s search for a dry dock builder appears here. It’s alarming.

According to Rogin, a Chinese company is the leading contender to build a dry dock for the Jackson County shipbuilder. Even though we do a lot of trade with China, we urge Ingalls to search far and wide before agreeing to take a dry dock from a Chinese company.

As Rogin notes, all large Chinese companies have ties to the Chinese government. And the Chinese are not exactly our allies when it comes to military matters.

We can’t help but remember that time we let Russians work on a U.S. embassy being built in Moscow. It was, for a while, a giant antenna for Soviet espionage.

Despite assurances that proper security precautions would be taken should Ingalls contract with China on the dry dock, we aren’t reassured.

Japan and South Korea also build these huge dry docks and both are more friendly to the U.S.

It’s true BAE Systems in San Diego and Bath Iron Works have dry docks built by the Chinese. Both work for the U.S. military and as far as we know, neither has been compromised by dealing with the Chinese.

Still, we wish there were an American company to turn to. These jobs, after all, pay very well. It’s the kind of work the American economy needs.

China is likely to beat any of our allies on the price of the dry dock. And that just raises concerns other than the potential for spying.

We already have a record trade deficit with China because American consumers are fixated on price and China almost always beats American competitors on prices.

Why? China has a lower standard of living than the U.S., and its workers are paid much lower wages than their U.S. counterparts. China also manipulates its currency to keep it lower than the dollar. China already is the U.S. government’s largest lender.

We urge Ingalls to look elsewhere to spend what is essentially taxpayers’ money.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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