1) Despite everyone painting such a rosy picture of China's economy, they have some serious underlining issues. I won't bore you with the details, but as you have said, they need to maintain about 7 or 8% GDP or start having to deal with the growing domestic issues of their country. At some point things are going to falter. Instead of dealing with the unrest inside their country, they would seek to focus their anger at an exterior source, and let's say it's the US/Japan. They gin up the people's anger, say it's all their fault, and eventually they must act. That action would either come from an Invasion of Taiwan, or some sort of Nationalistic movement asserting with more force their territorial claims.
2) Guns of August. Both sides not just underestimate the other in terms of capabilities, but in their resolve. Let's say one day China takes a provocative move by forcing an encounter in one of the defense zones they have established. Things get tense up there, someone misjudges the other or makes a mistake, and that would be all the justification for military action. If an American got shot down, we probably would just smack sanctions on them, which the Chinese would then retaliate with their own. If a Chinese was shot down, you could be a nationalistic movement would rise up and demand action. It could easily become a situation where the leaders don't have control.
SD, note the words "serious concerns"
(Reuters) - China is using espionage to acquire technologies to fuel its fast-paced military modernization program, the Pentagon said on Monday in an annual report that for the first time accused Beijing of trying to break into U.S. defense computer networks.
In its 83-page annual report to Congress on Chinese military developments, the Pentagon also cited progress in Beijing's effort to develop advanced-technology stealth aircraft and build an aircraft carrier fleet to project power further offshore.
The report said China's cyber snooping was a "serious concern" that pointed to an even greater threat because the "skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks."
WASHINGTON — The pace and scope of China’s military buildup is “potentially destabilizing” in the Pacific, a top defense official warned Wednesday as the Pentagon released an annual report cataloging China’s cruise missiles, fighter jets and growing, modernizing army.
I'm just not sure who would have a better handle on China's capabilities, the Pentagon, or Hamster Buddah
"You're the only person that decides how far you'll go and what you're capable of." - Ben Saunders (Explorer and Endurance Athlete)