For over a decade now, China has been working stealthily to alter the territorial and maritime status quo in the Indo-Pacific — an effort that has increasingly stoked tensions with regional neighbors like Australia, India, Japan, Taiwan and several Southeast Asian countries, as well as the United States.

And with U.S. attention and resources focused on conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, China has lately become even more aggressive in its expansionism. Chinese regional hegemony is closer than ever.

Almost daily, China finds a new way to bully Taiwan, which Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly pledged to “reunify” with the mainland (though that objective has no basis in international law or history). As China takes steps like encroaching on Taiwan’s air-defense zone and encircling the island with warships, it raises the risk of a war that would transform global geopolitics.