Experts point out that while China has gained serious ground in places like Africa and Latin America, it still can't touch the United States in terms of foreign interests [source: Gatsiounis]. China has officially overtaken Japan as the world's second largest economy, but its economy is still only half the size of the United States'.
The fact that many Chinese goods are low-end is another reason why many people think China is destined to remain a "great power" and not ascend to the ranks of superpower. America's educational and cultural influences also outpace China's. The United States' entertainment industries are emulated, its sports are most popular globally, and its educational system is the most emulated around the world [source: Gatsiounis].
Despite its efforts to implement the Chinese way of life in Africa and Latin America, there are still cultural barriers. Even in Africa, where China has made the most strides, the United States leads the trade war by 5 percent, even though Africa makes up just 2 percent of the United States' global trade. China is also a distant third place in Africa in terms of oil exports, behind Europe and the United States [source: Malone].
There's also evidence Africa may not be totally pleased with its relationship with China. Chinese companies in Africa are rated as having some of the worst working conditions in the world, and the infrastructure building that hasn't been directly involved in the transport of goods has been called into question [source: Gatsiounis]. Luanda's General Hospital, built by the Chinese in 2006, was evacuated just four years later amid fears of structural instability and collapse. Chinese military has supplied its share of arms to Africa and Latin America, but its actual military presence is still limited or close to non-existent [source: Terradaily].
All of these deficiencies may prevent China from becoming a superpower, but that doesn't mean the United States isn't taking the possibility seriously. The United States has sought to bolster ties to countries that have done business with China, and has even moved into China's backyard by seeking to strengthen trade in Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Loas, Cambodia and even Indonesia. Most economists think that while the United States may have a watchful eye on China and its global strategy, that it's in the best interest of the United States for China to remain a strong, viable economy. Aside from the global economic impact that China has on the rest of the world, it currently leads the world with $840 billion worth of investments in American Treasury securities [source: U.S. Department of the Treasury].
- "Chinese-built hospital risks collapse in Angola: state radio." Terradaily.com. July 6, 2010. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Chinese-built_hospital_risks_collapse_in_Angola_state_radio_999.html
- Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. "China has now become the biggest risk to the world economy." Telegraph.co.uk. Nov. 15, 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/6575883/China-has-now-become-the-biggest-risk-to-the-world-economy.html
- Gatsiounis, Ioannis. "The China Dream." Newsweek.com. Aug. 09, 2010. http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/09/the-china-dream.html
- "Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities." U.S. Department of the Treasury. 2010. http://www.ustreas.gov/tic/mfh.txt
- Malone, Andrew. "How China's taking over Africa, and why the West should be VERY worried." Dailymail.co.uk. July 18, 2008.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1036105/How-Chinas-taking-Africa-West-VERY-worried.html
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- Stepek, John. "China won't take over the world - yet." Moneyweek.com. April 6, 2010. http://www.moneyweek.com/news-and-charts/economics/china-wont-take-over-the-world-yet-01402.aspx