"China's rapid rise as a regional political and economic power with global aspirations is an important element of today's strategic environment -- one that has significant implications for the region and the world. The United States welcomes the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China. U.S. policy encourages China to participate as a responsible international stakeholder by taking on a greater share of responsibility for the health and success of the global system from which China has derived great benefit. […] The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is in the process of long-term transformation from a mass army designed for protracted wars of attrition on its territory to a more modern force capable of fighting short duration, high intensity conflicts against high-tech adversaries. Today, China's ability to sustain military power at a distance is limited. However, as the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report notes, 'China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional U.S. military advantages.' In the near term, China's military build-up appears focused on preparing for Taiwan Strait contingencies, including the possibility of U.S. intervention. However, analysis of China's military acquisitions suggest it is also generating capabilities that could apply to other regional contingencies, such as conflicts over resources or territory."
U.S. Department of Defense: http://www.defense.gov/