China do not even educate diplomats.
Without a doubt China is still a developing country and it is threatened internally by poverty, peasant unrest, unequal development and environmental degradation.
Having said this, China has been preparing and planning for the last forty years when it is finally in a position to re-arrange the world order so to speak. It is hoarding capital (the US is probably its largest sovereign debtor) and it is investing and building economic, cultural and political ties not only in the Eurasian continent but as far away as Africa and South America.
We are in the neighbourhood, so we need to prepare for China's plans. Without a doubt China will be this region's superpower very soon.
In the last 10 years the claimants seem to have been content with the status quo. But the Chinese are advancing their foreign policy goals slowly and stealthily. The Spratlys is the single most explosive issue between China and the ASEAN. Not only is it energy rich (and China is desperate for energy while it continues to industrialise), but 80 percent of China's oil from the Middle East passes through the South China Sea.
From strategic, security and economic aspects, China will find a way to control the sealanes. While it has diversified its sources of energy away from the US-controlled Middle East towards its neighbours Russia and the Central Asian -stans, Venezuela and North Africa, the energy under the SCS is not only conveniently close and easy to transport but a disunified ASEAN easy to manipulate.
I have met some would-be Chinese diplomats. They are all, again without a doubt, brilliant.