How China’s military upgrade and trade tensions are challenging the US in Indo-Pacific



Tensions between the United States and China are resurgent in May over the issue of trade as long-standing negotiations between the two sides fall apart.

At the same time, the US Department of Defence’s release of an annual report on Chinese military capabilities for American lawmakers has drawn attention to China’s ongoing military modernisation and expansion.

This year’s report mostly continues to discuss trends that have been highlighted in recent years, with a focus on Beijing’s use of espionage to steal military intellectual property, its growing expeditionary capabilities – including the development of a second indigenous aircraft carrier – and investment in emerging technologies.

The Pentagon’s report makes clear that the US sees Chinese initiatives in the Xi Jinping era, such as the “Belt and Road Initiative” and “Made in China 2025”, as strategic and economic threats.