On the one hand, analysts say, China’s military ambitions are understandable. The country’s global trade footprint and its reliance on foreign fuel and raw materials justify building a sophisticated and far-flung military force to secure its interests, just as the United States has done. As China expands into areas now dominated by the American military, they say, broad cooperation is crucial to avoid dangerous rivalries and potentially disastrous miscalculations. Some good might even come of this unlikely alliance.
But on the other hand, many American analysts view China’s military overhaul as the core of an effort to rein in American military power in the western Pacific. In this view, the antiship missile, aircraft carrier and much of the other sophisticated hardware China is developing are intended as a counterforce to the United States Navy’s Seventh Fleet, which has dominated Pacific waters for a half-century or more.
—Michael Wines, New York Times, 15 July 2011