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Business Insider: This Pentagon map shows what's really driving China's military and diplomatic strategy

China leaders believe their country is a rising superpower on track to have the world's largest economy and Asia's most formidable military.

There's one huge problem: energy needs.

Hopes for energy independence have been dashed by China's continuing population growth, along with increasing per capita consumption as the economy expands.

Continued economic growth is imperative for China's leaders. The Communist Party's legitimacy, and the social and political stability resulting from it, is largely dependent on rising prosperity. China's oppressive political system is generally tolerated (although beloved) because of the growth its brought the country.

WNU Editor: The need for energy is driving every major country's military and diplomatic strategy.

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