The South China Sea and Indian Ocean have been the principal theaters for Beijing's naval ambitions in Asia. The Pacific Ocean and Mekong River, each rife with strategic advantages, could soon be next.
For the world's second-largest economy, maritime expansion is a major means of achieving superpower stature and cementing its military, political and economic influence in Asia. Nowhere has that been more evident than the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing has reportedly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on several outposts.
Meanwhile, China has steadily constructed a string of defense and commercial facilities that include naval ports in the Indian Ocean — New Delhi's backyard.