Currently 2/3 of PLAN destroyers, submarines, frigages are older ships and 1/3 are consider modern, but it seems like they finalized on which iterated ship design to mass produce and replace her remaining older ships with. Her ability to mass produce once a reasonable design is settled upon is what makes China different from the US. Still PRC military is ranked distant 3rd to US but PRC ranks number one in finance in terms of foreign exchange and assets. Comparison, China has 2600 trillion in foreign exchange/assets and the US has only 150 trillion. China’s military is still catching up and cannot be used with effectiveness on US but her financial influence is already here and being used to challenge US influence and power. China’s GDP already exceeds 2nd Place Japan and is over 50 percent of the US GDP using current yuan to US dollar exchange rate. If China chose not to devalue her yuan (US has been demanding that to curtail China’s trade surplus) China’s GDP eventually will be equal to the US GDP if the yuan appreciates in value and the US dollar continues to decline. Finance is already killing US military power.
Due to forced cutbacks, the US may lose one carrier and up to 8 Army combat brigades. China did not fire a shot and we lost these military assets due to weak finances.
They are years away from being able to facce us on a genral, wide scale war basis.
But they will reach a point sooner than that where they can venture to force the Taiwan issue...or, more likely, keep ther Taiwan people from independence at the force of arms.
In thos restricted waters and right up against the Chinese mainland, they are building a force that can hinder our intevention.
It would be many years later before they had the experience, numbers and technology to meet us equally on the high seas. But they are clearly building up a force composition to allow them to do so once they get the numbers and more importantly, the experience, policies, and operational procedures in place and down.
Either way, it is something we must not ignore.