Today, China is seen as a candidate to unseat the US as the world superpower because of the remarkable progress and dominance it is making in the international arena. China’s economic boom and the expansion of its military have caught the attention of the world. China is argued to soon become the world’s largest economy and to be making rapid progress in many areas. The United States is seen as a declining superpower as indicated by factors such as its poor economic recovery, financial disorder, high deficits gaining close to GDP levels, and unemployment. The increasing political polarization and overregulation forcing jobs overseas in China and other countries have also been playing an important role in the decline of the United States.
Over the last three decades, the economic miracle of China and the increase of its military spending have brought up a debate about the rise of China as a dangerous superpower. Some believe this will rise in global supremacy and it will compete with America, while some think this will promote world peace.
After 1980, China increased its dominance in the Pacific Ocean by making some remarkable progress in its military expansion. 1997 marked a remarkable year in Chinese Military history as a result of the adoption of the strategic concept of high technology for fighting local wars and the addition of computers to carry out basic military operations. However, for China to have more dominance in the world, the Chinese government budgeted $175bn. According to the authors at Eclipse, China will direct the world’s financial system by 2020 and that the Chinese yuan will replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency in 10 to 15 years. The Chinese strategy revolves around their huge and increasingly highly skilled and educated workers to out-sell and out-build all others.
As China grows more powerful economically, its political power continues to grow and expand to other neighboring countries. Since 1990, China’s nine percent economic growth rate has enabled it to gain ground and expand its sphere of influence not only in Asia but also in Africa and South America. This influence is likely to expand in the future. China has strengthened its relations with North Korea by becoming a key mediator to make it a less hostile country. This will bring greater influence to bear in political discussions in the years ahead. Glaser (2011) states that China’s rise serves as a threat to the United States and this could lead to a Cold War, like the one between the united states and the Soviet Union.
The size of China’s GDP is another factor which makes it a member of industrialized economies, but it is still a long way from economic superpower stature. In 2003, China’s GDP ranked sixth in the world by the exchange rate and was measured to be a total of $1.159 trillion. China had passed Italy ($1.088 billion) and many other developed countries only a year before. The rank of China’s GDP is much higher according to the purchasing power parity calculations. But in the absence of exact facts and figures, these rankings are controversial and probably exaggerated by the Chinese government. China’s GDP is undervalued when combined with exchange rate calculations, especially for comparisons in the international economy. China’s One Belt and One Road initiative seeks to accelerate the economic growth across Asia by investing billions of dollars into building ambitious amounts of infrastructure to connect China with the rest of the world. China has announced investments over $1 trillion in the various infrastructure projects and is currently funding other Asian countries by offering low-markup loans. Many participating countries, like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are positive about One Belt and One Road initiative due to massive investments by China in local transmission projects in their countries. Landlocked Nepal has recently joined One Belt and One Road by signing a deal that will help it improve cross-border connectivity with China. Pakistan is also set to benefit from the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will connect southwestern China to and through Pakistan, allowing access to its Arabian Sea routes.
It is true that China is rising, both economically and militarily, and at the same time, it is growing its assertiveness with other nations. The most important of problems include the high and rising inequality between the Chinese ethnic groups, corruption, and persistence of poverty. China also needs to pay proper attention to its environmental pollution, and over-dependency on nonrenewable resources. Tangshan, a city in China was declared the second most polluted city in the world by WHO. All these problems could make China’s position as the world’s superpower vulnerable. China’s GDP is about 5 percent of the world’s total, but it consumes more than one-third of the world’s outputs of coal, steel, and cement.
There is a tremendous difference between views, and perception from the media and reality. The diversity of views about the implications of China’s rise as a superpower is a testimony to the uncertainty associated with it. At a broader level, its power keeps on growing. It has been involved in global affairs and is a strong member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council. From a realistic point of view, China’s recognition as a superpower still faces many barriers. These obstacles could undermine much of the economic, political, and military power China has established.