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Beijing's white paper on national defense and its application of the geostrategy presented there to holding war games with Moscow indicate realism, rationality and political maturity and sophistication. China's "ruling party" is aware of and forthright about the country's present limitations and has formulated a plausible strategy of "active defense" to overcome them over the next two decades.
Active defense means that Beijing will play a waiting game and punch below its weight until the regime feels that it is ready to act more assertively. As it gains strength, Beijing will expand its reach, as it has done in planning joint exercises with Russia. Barring unforeseeable crises that would disturb its progress tow! ard becoming the undisputed regional power center of East and Southeast Asia, Beijing's major problems come from Washington and Tokyo, and from its perceived need to incorporate Taiwan in order to make its East Asian aspirations credible.
It is far from certain that Beijing will be able to finesse Washington and Tokyo, and, in the near term, to absorb Taiwan, but time seems to be on its side.