The Peoples' Republic of China - The Next Superpower?

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The Peoples' Republic of China - The Next Superpower?

The People's Republic of China (PRC) is seen by many as an economic powerhouse with the world's largest standing military that has the potential to translate economic power into the military sphere. As one of the elements of power, a nation's military potential is based not only on its capability to defeat an adversary, but also its ability to coerce and exercise influence. China's standing armed force of some 2.8 million active soldiers in uniform is the largest military force in the world. Approximately 1 million reservists and some 15 million militia back them up. With a population of over 1.2 billion people, China also has a potential manpower base of another 200 million males fit for military service available at any time. In addition to this wealth of manpower, China is a nuclear power. It has enough megatonnage, missiles, and bombers to hit the United States, Europe, its Asian neighbors, and Russia. Notwithstanding the recent detargeting announcement between China and the United States, that does not change China's capability to hold Los Angeles or other U.S. cities hostage to nuclear threat. China is also an economic power of considerable strength. The PRC's economy quadrupled in the 15 years up to 1995. The latest World Bank report on its economy, China 2020, indicates that China's gross domestic product (GDP) increased at a rate of between 6.6 percent and 8 percent annually between 1978 and 1995. And China has foreign exchange reserves of about U.S.$140.6 billion, primarily from foreign direct investment. For China's leaders, the economy is the most important factor determining future military power. The director of the political department of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Guangzhou Military Region described national power as a combination of economic strength and the "level of defense modernization." Chinese leaders believe that economic growth will stagnate if resources are poured into military modernization at the expense of broader economic development. There are many serious problems for China's leaders to confront if they are to maintain healthy economic growth. Among the issues are an aging population, state owned enterprises (SOE) operating at a loss (50 percent), potential labor unrest, and potential financial crisis. If China is to continue on its current path of economic i...

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..., Asian or otherwise, for mastery of Asia-Pacific. As demonstrated in the paper: China has expanded its national security objectives; China has changed its patterns in the use of military force; China is developing a modern war machine and sea control capability and; China is attempting to build an anti-American and anti-West alliance. There can only be one reason for these activities. These are not moves directed at local oponents or guided by the principles of self-defence. This is a move aimed at the world's sole remaining superpower, the United States. American superpowership rests on the fact that it is master of the North and South American continent, the oceans that surround that land mass, and a forward presence in strategically important regions of the world such as, Western Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Asia. If China and the PLA can marginalize the United States in Asia, then they can challenge the United States' mantle as the world's only superpower. Only time will tell if they can be successful in their ambition.


Global tourism Forecasts to the Year 2000 and beyond, World Tourism Organization Publishing.
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