Image via WikipediaJapan has ended its refueling mission in the Indian Ocean which was part of its support for the Afghan war. On the other side of the coin, this will be interesting from a foreign policy perspective if it comes to pass.
The Chinese navy is slowly extending its permanent blue water reach into new zones. Although ostensibly a mission merely to support the continuing war in Afghanistan (and therefore in support of the US military), this step really goes far beyond the naval mission against piracy that China has heretofore engaged. It creates a permanent presence. How this will play out with India, its regional rival, and Pakistan, its regional ally, if it actually happens?
On the other hand, will the US really, really agree to having its warships refueled by the Chinese? Somehow, it seems to me that this might be a sea lane too far.