"In the coming five years, our military will push forward preparations for military conflict in every strategic direction," said Liang Guanglie in an interview published by several state-backed newspapers in China. "We may be living in peaceful times, but we can never forget war, never send the horses south or put the bayonets and guns away," Mr Liang added.Understand the Chinese. Understand their history; one literally more than an order of magnitude greater than ours.
As China modernises, Mr Liang pledged that its armed forces would also increasingly use homegrown Chinese technology, which analysts say still lags behind Western technology even as China races to catch up.
"The modernisation of the Chinese military cannot depend on others, and cannot be bought," Mr Liang added, "In the next five years, our economy and society will develop faster, boosting comprehensive national power. We will take the opportunity and speed up modernisation of the military."
You don't send your horses south because, you see, the Mongolians are to the north.
You always maintain a trade surplus because of the severe damage the opium trade did to empty out anything of value from China.
Also remember that the Chinese tend to exaggerate a bit where weak - and hide strength where strong. They read Sun Tsu better than we do.
They also know they are a land power that relies on maritime trade to feed and employ its people - to enrich their nation and its military. As long as you are not a threat to their access to natural resources or trade - they will probably leave you alone.
Besides some minor border issues with India and Vietnam, smaller ones with other nations- the only major border issues are with Taiwan and Russia.
What is the big threat to us from China? Only if it goes neo-Imperial or tries Argentina-82 style to externalize domestic unrest; and only then if we decide to make their quarrel ours.
Always judge a nation by its future capabilities though - not its present intentions - that goes both ways.