Regardless of Beijing’s efforts to soothe sensitivities, Asian neighbors sense that China’s growing strength will cause traumatic shifts in power. A stronger China will undercut the pre-eminence of Japan, challenge America’s role as regional overseer and rewrite Southeast Asia’s economic and political course.
Just like the US, China is emerging as both an economic and military power. Could China be the next superpower? Will it consider itself this? Will this imperil its economic growth in an inter-dependent world? These are questions which only time will answer.