Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Beijing’s Reach in the South China Sea

Beijing’s Reach in the South China Sea

Since the early 1980s, China has consistently sought to accelerate the modernization of its conventional forces. The essence of that new policy was captured by Chinese strategists in a “set of eight Chinese characters: zongti fanqwei; zhongdian fazhan (strengthen overall national power for defending security, emphasize the main points of defense science and technology).“ The policy was designed to give Chinese forces the strategic framework to “coordinate with each other in combat, react quickly, counter electronic surveillance, ensure logistical supply, and survive in the field.” By relying on the wealth generated from the country’s economic expansion to acquire foreign military equipment and technology, particularly from Russia, China’s modernization program has benefited significantly. Now, as Chinese leaders become more assertive in East Asia, China’s neighbors naturally monitor with growing unease the Chinese military, increasingly geared for power-projection.

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