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United States analysts debate about how much military power China wants. They continue to modernize their armed forces and missile program. The big question is: How do they want to use the capabilities they work on securing? Could China's navy lead to a regional security problem?

China's global strategies for economic dominance go hand in hand with a policy of increasingly aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea. Its navy is in danger of becoming a serious threat to regional security, if it is not already one.

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The Chinese Communist Party is highly secretive, and most experts are reluctant to believe the small amount of information it chooses to release about China's strategic objectives. However, a pattern has emerged in recent decades of China slowly increasing its power by methods which grow more aggressive according to the geographical proximity of the targets. While China tends to use soft power and espionage close to America, in the Sinosphere, and more particularly the South China Sea, military tensions have slowly escalated in various territorial disputes between China and its neighbours. In particular, China has pursued a strategy of building outposts close to disputed territories, such as the Spratly and Paracel Islands, and slowly building up its naval capabilities in these regions.

The Chinese navy could certainly lead to a security problem in Southeast Asia and is arguably doing so already, as disputes with ASEAN countries continue to escalate. The Communist Party has always emphasized patience in its foreign policy and will almost certainly avoid overt action until it is quite certain that there is no chance of United States intervention in its disputes with, for instance, the Philippines. There is no doubt that Beijing's military plans are on the scale of decades rather than years and that its plans for regional military dominance are part of a global strategy which includes a concomitant increase in China's worldwide economic power.

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