For the past 20 years, the U.S. Department of Defense has issued an annual report to Congress on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.”
On 1 September, the 2020 report was sent to Congress and included the fact that China now has the world’s largest navy and is determined to create a world-class military capable of operations across the entire globe.
According to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China, Chad Sbragia, the recent buildup has given Beijing the impetus to be “more assertive” with its neighbors. Mr. Sbragia added, “I would also draw your attention to weapons systems and it’s important to highlight the Chinese shipbuilding advantages in terms of its size of the fleet, is both in context of the broader modernization ambitions, virtual class military.”
He added China’s navy is “an increasingly modern and flexible force that has focused on replacing previous generations of platforms with limited capabilities in favor of larger, modern multi-role combatants.”
China is adding anti-ship missiles armed with hypersonic technology, which travel faster than Mach 5. Additionally, China is one of only a handful of countries with nuclear-armed submarines.
Mr. Sbragia pointed out that Beijing has been testing its military reach throughout the South China Sea, one of the most strategic international waterways through which about one-third of global shipping travels, as well as exploring potential bases ranging from Africa to South America.
TRENDPOST: As reported in the Trends Journal, China has been exerting its military muscle in the geopolitically important South China Sea, including territorial disputes with the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.
The Chinese have constructed a large network of runways and facilities for housing weapons on a number of contested islands. On 14 July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “China’s pursuit of offshore resources in parts of the South China Sea is ‘completely unlawful.’”  
China’s military buildup is part of an even larger geopolitical/economic plan also reported on extensively in the Trends Journal: The Belt and Road Initiative.
This multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure project is the key element of the Chinese government’s plans to be the #1 economy in the world. Started in 2013, the massive plan includes both overland routes of roads and railways and sea routes, which will create the world’s largest trading network.
Again, as noted, we forecast that while the 20th century was the “American century,” the 21st will be the “Chinese century.”

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