From remote Himalayan valleys to small tropical islands and tense Western capitals, an increasingly assertive China is taking on conflicts around the world like never before as the United States retreats.
China’s imposition this week of a controversial security law in Hong Kong, defying a barrage of criticism from the West, offered another example of its rising confidence as a global superpower.
The confrontations are seen as part of President Xi Jinping’s nationalist drive to return a once-weak China to its rightful place of dominance in the world and shed past strategies of discreet diplomacy.
They also come as US President Donald Trump alienates allies with his America First policies and riles China with a trade war.
“There is a sense that the time has come for China to claim its spot under the sun,” said Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
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