Speaking on State on Demand, Carnegie's Paul Haenle explained that although the United States and China benefit from deep economic and trade ties, the military-to-military relationship between the two nations is not as strong as it should be. “The United States is concerned that certain aspects of the PLA’s capabilities appear to be developed for the specific purpose of denying the United States the ability to involve itself in some sort of conflict in the region,” Haenle said.

Haenle also elaborated on President Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’, stating that given the Asia-Pacific’s importance to the United States in terms of trade and economic issues, it made sense for U.S. foreign policy to become more focused on this region. This pivot is not just an effort to enhance U.S. military presence in the region, he explained, but also intended to enhance diplomatic and economic ties.