China on the Brink: Is a Military Move or Economic Dominance Beijing’s Next Play?

Written by Henrik Rothen

May.05 - 2024 1:14 PM CET

Photo: Alessia Pierdimenico /
Photo: Alessia Pierdimenico /
As Beijing Buffers Its Arsenal, the World Watches Warily.

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China's geopolitical maneuvers are capturing global attention as it aggressively stockpiles resources, hinting at major forthcoming actions that could reshape international relations.

With its first state-of-the-art aircraft carrier now navigating sea trials and its military jets encircling Taiwan with increasing frequency, the world is on edge.

Andreas Larsen, CEO of Steno Research, reflects a growing concern among global analysts:

"China is preparing for something major. That seems increasingly obvious judging from the stockpiling of important resources."

But the ultimate goal of this preparation remains a matter of intense speculation and division among international observers.

Strategic Moves on the Geopolitical Chessboard

Could Chairman Xi Jinping be gearing up for an invasion of Taiwan, or perhaps eyeing strategic territories in the South and East China Seas?

Alternatively, might Beijing be plotting an economic upheaval aimed at undermining the US dollar and seizing control over critical global mineral markets?

This speculation was fueled further by Michael Studeman, former head of the US Office of Naval Intelligence. In a recent publication in War on the Rocks, he asserts,

"A storm from Beijing is heading to Taiwan," indicating no signs of Xi learning from the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict other than how to effectively prepare for potential conquests.

Echoes of Historical Siege Tactics

The strategy of stockpiling resources isn't new. It reflects lessons from history where countries like Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan saw their war efforts crumble due to resource starvation. Beijing seems to be fortifying itself against similar vulnerabilities.

"Xi seems to have studied the sanctions playbook the West used against Russia over Ukraine and subsequently initiated long-lead protective measures," Studeman points out.

A study by the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs adds that China's aggressive accumulation of strategic materials not only prepares it militarily but also allows Beijing to manipulate global market prices to its advantage.

The Dual-Edged Sword of Military and Economic Might

Gregory Wischer of Dei Gratia Minerals argues that China's stockpiling is a strategic double play that safeguards against both military and economic crises. Meanwhile, the outgoing US Indo-Pacific Command chief, Admiral John Aquilino, has voiced concerns about China’s growing aggressiveness, suggesting that Beijing is positioning itself to challenge international norms to favor its authoritarian regime.

The looming question is whether these preparations are in anticipation of a direct military action, like the feared 2027 target for Taiwan, or if they're part of a broader strategy to economically dominate global trade and resources.

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