In 2000, China increased its defense spending to 13 percent of its gross domestic product, followed by another augmentation to 17 percent in 2001. One analyst observed that recent purchases by Chinese generals tend to “emphasize power-projection forces” to apply military power “at a distance.” Though the actual reasons are decreed as protective measures by the Chinese government, some correlation can be drawn to recent maneuvers, such as its claim of 80 percent of the South China Sea, which is against international law, and by its direct colonialism over the Paracel and Spratly Islands, also in possession of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. A former Philippines defense minister called this a “creeping invasion” when asked to comment on its possible ramifications. China has also laid claim to the Philippines’ Mischief Reef and has established military installations on four other disputed reefs; moreover, has been a notable increase in Chinese naval traffic around the Philippines’ territories that makes many countries “uneasy that China may want to resume the imperial status it had in earlier centuries,” according former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Furthermore, the Japanese government has reported that Chinese military vessels sail into Japanese waters approximately 20 times per year. This has prompted the Japanese Defense Ministry to begin a massive project for mapping its coastal seafloor to observe China’s growing fleet of submarines. This is not to mention that Japan moves 70 percent of its crude oil and fishing through the South China Sea, of which China has called for the “immediate eviction of foreign military vessels or vessels owned by foreign governments and used for noncommercial purposes that violate the laws and regulations” of China.
My own comments are on my own blog.