Is there any historical evidence to support the idea that China may become a global superpower like the US?

Richard Kenneth Eng
3 min readJan 18, 2024

For nearly all of the last 2,000 years, China was one of the two largest economies in the world.

China was the dominant nation in East Asia. Dozens of kingdoms and principalities paid tribute to China.

China extended its economic tendrils all the way to Europe along the ancient Silk Road.

At one time, China possessed the world’s largest navy. In the 15th century, the legendary admiral, Zheng He, led a vast “treasure fleet” of 300 ships on various ocean voyages, some all the way to the East coast of Africa! Some 60 of these ships were gargantuan vessels that totally dwarfed the ships of Christopher Columbus, and the fleet carried some 28,000 sailors and warriors.

The Yuan Dynasty derived from the Mongol Empire that stretched across Eurasia, proving that China could’ve conquered distant lands. Notably, China chose not to.

Today, China is again one of the two largest economies in the world. The ancient Silk Road has been revived as the One Belt, One Road, or more commonly, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Today, China again possesses the world’s largest navy, including three aircraft carriers, one of which is comparable to the USA’s Ford class carriers. Three more “supercarriers” are in various stages of design.

The Type 055 destroyer is widely regarded as the world’s most powerful warship. With a displacement of around 13,000 tons, it is perhaps better categorised as a “cruiser.”

China possesses the world’s largest army of over 2 million active military personnel.

However, unlike the United States, China will be a very different kind of superpower, one that is peaceful, one that is benevolent, one that is respectful of all nations. China has demonstrated this in various ways:

  • China has fought no wars since 1979. No other world power in human history has been so peaceful for so long.
  • China does not sanction countries, nor overthrow their governments. The USA has done both.
  • China helps other countries build their infrastructure through the BRI.
  • China leads major economic alliances such as BRICS and SCO. China is trying to build a new multipolar world order to replace the existing US-led “rules-based international order” that terrorises the world today.
  • China works to bring peace to troubled parts of the world. It brokered a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and it’s trying to do the same in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Israel-Hamas conflict. Note that the USA has blocked peace negotiations in these conflicts.
  • When the West hoarded their vaccines during the pandemic, China stepped forward to help poor countries vaccinate.

We can be extremely thankful for all this.

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