Many find it hard to understand why China is acting so aggressively in regard to its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas. What do leaders in Beijing hope to achieve by alienating its neighbors and undermining regional stability?
Their reasoning is actually simple enough. China wants to wield much more power and influence in Asia than it has for the past few centuries. And for China to have more power, the United States must have less.
They know that America’s position in Asia is built on its network of alliances and partnerships with many of China’s neighbors, including Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. And they believe that weakening these relationships is the easiest way to weaken US regional power.