This article was written by Alex Hollings and originally published on Sandboxx.
China’s growing fleet of aircraft carriers may promise to grant the nation more power projection capabilities than ever before, but first, they’ll need a competent carrier-based fighter. That’s where a Chinese national named Su Bin comes in–he is currently serving a prison sentence for stealing tens of thousands of files on America’s premier military aircraft, including the C-17 Globemaster III, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and providing them directly to the Chinese government.
China’s People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) has undergone a vast overhaul in recent years, with Xi Jinping (General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, but often referred to as President) spearheading the initiative to remove internal corruption and wasteful spending. His intent is not just to turn China’s massive and sluggish military into a 21st-century powerhouse, but very literally to unseat the United States as the global leader in multiple arenas; from military power projection to diplomacy to (perhaps most importantly) international trade.
These seemingly disparate goals all actually dovetail into one another on the global stage, with China’s transition from a green water (coastal) to a blue water (global) navy providing it the security it needs to expand its diplomatic influence, both of which serve to further bolster China’s rapidly expanding economic interests outside of the nation’s borders. Truly, all three of these goals can be appropriately summed up under one banner: China’s focus on becoming the sole global superpower that dominates the 21st century.