How does China's military stack up?
China's military remains well behind the U.S. in many areas and beset by problems, including corruption, that raise doubts about its ability to conduct a full-scale conventional conflict, Pentagon officials and analysts say.
Its 1.2 million soldiers have little or no combat experience and often carry outdated equipment.
With 2,100 combat aircraft, China has the largest air force in Asia but still lacks in-air refueling capability that would enable it to fight over long distances.
Its navy has over 300 ships and submarines, but they are primarily focused on operating close to shore, not in the open ocean.
At the same time, Beijing seems intent on fixing many of those problems, no matter how long it takes.
In the South China Sea, for example, it has spent the last two years building large artificial islands on once-tiny reefs and rock outcrops. U.S. military officials worry that China is trying to establish de facto control over parts of a strategic international waterway
Adm. Harry Harris, who took over in May as the top U.S commander in the Pacific, warned last month that China has started building runways and other military facilities on the man-made islands.
“Any increase of capability like that in that area is cause for concern,” Harris said.