China is not only expansionist in an economic sense. Densely populated China is bordered by thinly populated vast territories rich in natural resources to its west and north which are completely irresistible to Han China. China is a highly sophisticated state which has learned the lesson of historical empires and Beijing knows the dangers of imperial overreach and premature expansion. The Han nationality encompasses the speakers of the various distinctive Sinitic languages who are artificially unified by the Chinese literary language. Han civilization has expanded for thousands of years through colonization of lands of neighboring peoples who were subsequently increasingly assimilated into Han civilization. This process never stopped. The current Chinese regime is involved in intense Han colonization of Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang. There is no question that China has its eyes on thinly populated parts of Russia, Central Asia, parts of the Middle East reaching the Indian Ocean and the eastern shores of the Mediterranean sea as well as Australia and possibly even Canada and Greenland.
However, China is very patient and in its current phase is focused on building its economic and military power. Only at a much later stage, when due to China’s economic power, it will become completely unthinkable to impose economic sanctions against China, will Beijing move to expand territorially. At that point will the size of the Chinese military be so gargantuan that the Chinese military will become completely invincible. Only then will China move to expand territorially.
China is of course well aware of Russia’s desperate plan to to once more become a superpower by conquering Europe whereby Moscow hopes to become able to defend Siberia and Central Asia against Chinese territorial expansionism. Beijing obviously finds that amusing since China will itself choose the timing of its Siberian conquest and will only expand when it will be certain to defeat Russia.
The Janus-faced China pretends to be friends with Russia and Moscow plays along in taking advantage of the so-called “friendship”. It is peculiar that the two cynical great powers which incidentally do not believe in friendship in international relations have curiously declared “unlimited friendship” in between themselves. However, pretending to be “friends” is mutually advantageous for Beijing and Moscow, and China’s invasion of Siberia is anyhow decades away, probably at least 20 years.
It is important to understand that Chinese expansionism operates as per an elaborate master plan which does not allow itself to be interrupted by day to day politics. Chinese strategic planning is extremely long-term and there is no question that China has learned from the failure of Nazi Germany in avoiding both imperial overreach and premature expansionism. So many empires have appeared and disappeared throughout history, yet China certainly intends to become the last empire in history and is bent on permanently dominating the entire world.
The US government would be particularly well-advised to craft a bi-partisan master plan for the coming fifty years. China will eventually catch up economically with the West and it is likely to happen sooner rather than later. This means that China will inevitably eclipse America as the hegemonic superpower unless America crafts an elaborate long-term counter-strategy. What is thus necessary is to create a democratic commonwealth of the entire free world. The entire democratic world needs to become one vast free-trade area in order to make it attractive for non-democracies to democratize to access this global free-trade zone. This democratic commonwealth will be demographically larger in size than China and America should become the spearhead of this commonwealth. Only this way will America be able to maintain its global hegemony. Furthermore, all members of the commonwealth must be ready to defend each other. What will be necessary is to build a nexus of militarily strong democratic powers, including a European Union with its own unified military. Only by remaining at the helm of such a powerful democratic commonwealth can America retain its hegemonic superpower status.