It may take time for traditional powers in the Asia-Pacific to become accustomed to a stronger Chinese military Wholesale Kansas City Royals Jerseys , say analysts, but a stronger military would not increase the odds of regional conflict, given the country's priority of addressing domestic concerns.

"China should have a military that can match its power status," said Ma Gang, a professor at the People's Liberation Army National Defense University. "It is the only big country that has not achieved reunification and faces serious challenges to its sovereignty and several territorial disputes."

In its New Year message on Jan 1, the PLA Daily addressed China's new position at the center of world events and the goal of national renewal.

"We have never been so close to the center of the world stage ... and have so much capability and confidence to achieve this goal (the renewal of the Chinese nation). But we have to realize that the road ahead can hardly be smooth Cheap Kansas City Royals Jerseys ," the newspaper said.

Increased capabilities

Less than a month after being named the head of the Communist Party of China Central Military Commission, President Xi Jinping asked PLA officers to adopt realistic combat criteria in military training.

"It is the top priority for the military to be able to fight and win battles," he said during an inspection to the Guangzhou military theater of operations in December 2012.

Under Xi's guideline, all forces of the PLA had "obviously" intensified training and exchanges with foreign forces since the beginning of 2013, said Li Jie, a professor at the Naval Military Studies Research Institute.

According to the Ministry of National Defense Wholesale Royals Jerseys , between January and the end of November, the PLA completed 40 major exercises as well as 17 joint exercises and training events with foreign militaries.

The Chinese military has expanded its sphere of activity, aiming to extend its naval and air forces farther from the coast and into international waters, said Li.

The trend has been underscored by the boosted status of the Chinese navy, which started developing much later than the country's massive ground force.

The modernization of the navy started in the 1990s and saw a flurry of breakthroughs in 2013, including the creation of China's first carrier-borne aviation force and the first exercises in the South China Sea for its sole aircraft carrier Cheap Royals Jerseys , the Liaoning.

There were also increasingly complex thrusts into the Pacific that extended beyond the "first island chain blockade" — the arc of islands enclosing China's coastal waters and separating them from the Pacific.

Reuters has described the rapidly expanding PLA navy as driving a seismic shift in Asia's military balance.

However, Chinese experts have refuted such rhetoric, saying military moves by China are only aimed at creating improved self-defense by providing capabilities to match the other parties in the region.

"The Air Defense Identification Zone, for instance, is a common practice among major powers. China has followed the practice and made its stance clear to the world, so the criticism of some countries is discriminatory Wholesale Edinson Volquez Jersey ," said Li.

Territorial rivalry

In November, China announced the creation of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, which requires aircraft to report their flight plans and establish identification communications while flying through the zone.

More than 20 countries, including the United States and Japan, have set up their own air defense identification zones since the 1950s.

The move by China has drawn criticism from the US and its ally Japan, given that the zone encompasses the Diaoyu Islands Wholesale Omar Infante Jersey , which China has owned for centuries but which were "nationalized" by Tokyo in 2012.

Japan's illegal purchase triggered strong protests from China and prompted it to start regular patrols around the islands last year. In July, five PLA warships steamed out of the Sea of Japan, through the Soya Strait and completed the Chinese navy's first circumnavigation of the Japanese archipelago.

Cao Weidong, a researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said such activities would not increase tensions and that China's stance remains defensive, while its naval forces are still dwarfed by traditional maritime powers.

"Instead Wholesale Jason Vargas Jersey , Washington is shifting 60 percent of its warships to the Pacific and Tokyo is gearing up to build a fully fledged military. China is suffering from the threat of escalating conflict," he said.

James Holmes, a maritime strategist at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and a former US Navy surface warfare officer, said Wholesale Joakim Soria Jersey , "Naval commentators suggest the bellicose rhetoric shows that both sides are struggling to adjust to their new rivalry.

"And, the Japanese do regional tranquility no service by being alarmed when China's navy transits international straits in a perfectly lawful manner," Holmes told Reuters.

More mature

Su Hao, a professor of Asia-Pacific studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said China's more coordinated security policy and its willingness to interact with the rest of the world has contributed to a reduction in misunderstandings and the easing of tensions.

Su was speaking about Beijing's announcement of a State Security Committee in November, as well as increasing military drills between China and foreign militaries Wholesale Danny Duffy Jersey , "including both traditional partners and the so-called strategic competitors".

In November alone, China conducted joint military exercises with India, the US and Indonesia. The drill involving China and India was the pair's first in five years.

"The showcasing of the two sides' military strength helps to dispel Washington's concerns about China and to smooth relations," said Su.

The Chinese side, for example, properly handled a reported "near-miss" between warships of China and the US in the South China Sea

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