TOKYO -- Despite its long coast along the South and East China seas, much of China is landlocked and far from any port. Traditionally, the country has focused on strengthening its army. Now, however, it is prioritizing a naval buildup that could allow it to rival the U.S. at sea.
The strategy for becoming a maritime superpower centers on acquiring the rights to ports in Southeast Asia and on toward the oil-rich Middle East. Although the ostensible goal is to secure stable access to energy and other resources, analysts suspect these bases could be used for military purposes in the event of a clash.