China has the world’s largest military, by sheer number, with 2.3 million active-duty personnel compared to the US’s 1.5 million, and has been modernizing its navy by adding hundreds of ships.

What Trump and his advisors may not understand is that the Chinese government “views the US as an actual physical threat to the nation and system of government in China,” Balding said, and things between the two nations are “more tense than most people understand.” The only reason tensions have not been higher is “US foreign policy has been so acquiescent for so long that there was very little to fight about.”

Tom Tsui contributed reporting.

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