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As China’s navy hurtles forward to unprecedented levels of both numbers and capability, several key questions are naturally surfacing in all corners of the world.

First, what is China’s true intent? Second, can it bear the cost of military expansion, which comes in addition to its “Belt and Road” initiative (BRI) loan commitments and infrastructure building around the world, particularly at a time of slowing growth and a trade war with the United States? Will the Chinese people themselves accept the new role, and the cost of that role, that President Xi Jinping is carving out for them in Asia and beyond?

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