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What does it take to be a superpower and does China tick all the boxes?

China certainly will be one of the world's greatest powers in the 21st century. But whether it overtakes the US as a superpower remains in question

China, Xi Jinping

Illustration by Binay Sinha

Marc Champion & Adrian Leung | Bloomberg
As the US well knows, it's expensive to be a superpower. The costs of maintaining a large military, leading diplomatic missions and providing aid to foreign countries all add up. The more China extends itself around the globe, the heavier the burden will be. While the country has deep pockets, there are economic and financial challenges at home, and if things go belly up domestically it could put strains on President Xi Jinping's ambitions. As the Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote in "The Art of War" two and a half millennia ago, "first count the cost."

So a key question

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First Published: Aug 31 2018 | 1:53 AM IST

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