WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The United States can take active steps to avoid a military confrontation with a very powerful China sometime in the future, a think tank said Monday.
The Rand Corp. said in a new report the United States would be well-advised to foster cooperation with Beijing while maintaining the military capabilities of China's neighbors.
"China could become a more capable opponent than either the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany at their peak," lead author James Dobbins said in a written statement. "However, China is not seeking to expand its territory or hold ideological sway over its neighbors. Nor is it seeking to match U.S. defense spending."
Rand said its study examined potential conflict scenarios ranging from North Korea and India to cyberspace and stressed that the current extensive economic ties between the United States and China were a significant deterrence to war.
The most-likely sources of trouble in the near-term included Taiwan and North Korea, with the Korean Peninsula being particularly volatile.
Rand said a chaotic transfer of power in Pyongyang could bring Chinese troops into North Korea to maintain order. It would also require international cooperation to secure the North's nuclear weapons and prevent shooting along the border with South Korea.
"As China's military modernization progresses, the United States' ability to confidently accomplish these missions is eroding," Dobbins said.