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China's increasing global prominence is consonant to its military's growth from strength to strength. Given a few years, China's control over the South China Sea can overtake that of the U.S., international agreements and a looming arms race notwithstanding.

Currently, the U.S. continues to exert its global military presence over the politically volatile South China Sea. China continues its grip over disputed atolls claimed by the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, despite a contrary ruling by the U.N. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

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Persistently upholding the "nine-dash line" claim, China has already weaponized the islands awarded by the U.N. top maritime court to the Philippines, signaling the need for a careful approach to approaching the East Asian giant to avoid the risk of war.

Reuters further noted that China is also set to reclaim Taiwan, an island nation it claims as a rogue province despite exhibiting characteristics of self-determination, by force in the coming years. China's first attempt to usurp Taipei back in 1995 failed when the U.S. sent aircraft patrols in the South China Sea.

But the past 20 years have seen China transform from a budding backwater economy to a rapidly industrializing superpower, with the same applying to the People's Liberation Army. China's South China sea fleet, in that sense, can now realistically overcome that of the U.S. soon enough.

Despite Washington's intent to augment its military spending by up to 9 percent under President Donald Trump, China's double-digit growth in military spending can expect to supersede American efforts to impose its presence in the South China Sea.

Moreover, with positive attitudes toward militarization influencing China's neighbors Japan and South Korea, Chinese military growth over the South China Sea can only lead towards an upward trajectory. That can only accelerate China's South China sea fleet relative to that of the U.S.

That said, American military might may soon have to contend that of China as the U.S. navy continues to patrol the South China Sea. It is, therefore, important for both sides to take on a cautious approach towards one another to prevent any prospect of war happening.