In a new military white paper published today, China vowed to increase its focus on offensive capabilities rather than its current defensive stance.
Beijing highlighted a “grave and complex array of security threats” as the reason for the switch, including its ongoing territorial row in the South China Sea.
China is determined to complete its construction of artificial reefs in the internationally disputed waters, despite protests from neighbouring countries Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Under President Obama the US has repeatedly clashed with China over its building projects in the disputed Spratly Islands, whose sovereignty are claimed by a number of nations.
Washington believes the work is being conducted with the aim of strengthening China’s claim to the vast majority of the South China Sea, increasing fears the movement of ships and aircraft in the region could soon be restricted by Beijing.