In testimony last week before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats asserted that “China’s actions reflect a long-term strategy to achieve global superiority.” With China’s global influence and tensions between Washington and Beijing growing apace, what is the best way to understand how China envisions itself in the world? Some contend China’s leaders seek global preeminence; others, that they are principally focused on restoring China’s dominant position within the Asia-Pacific; and yet others, that the country’s engagement abroad is still primarily rooted in fulfilling domestic imperatives. Which conclusion is correct? Which documents, statements, and actions should observers pay attention to in rendering their judgments?
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