China, especially under President Xi Jinping, seeks a return to what it regards as its rightful position, replacing the U.S. as the world’s dominant economic and military power. Previous U.S. administrations have slouched in the direction of understanding the strategic competition that grows from this ambition but did little. The current U.S. administration gets it, as evidenced by the National Defense Strategy’s identification of China as a major peer competitor.
Another proof is the Department of Defense (DOD) report, “Assessment on U.S. Defense Implications of China’s Expanding Global Access.” It examines how China is modernizing its military by reverse engineering, cyber-espionage and joint ventures that blackmail foreign companies into handing over critical military-use technology. Noted are China’s $1.024 trillion global investments and its $735 billion investment in global construction contracts from 2006 to 2017.