China historically has not been a very aggressive nation. There are very few international wars, even when they were great sailors, they did not go over and claim colonies, or go to war with the places they visited. So, historically, China has not been a nation that had international wars.
They have slaughtered each other, they have had civil wars, but they had internal wars at times, but they have not been very aggressive on the international scene.
Yes, I see what is happening in the South China sea now, I do not really know who is right or who is wrong here, they all claim that, "You are wrong!", "You are wrong!". It seems a little absurd that anybody is ranging over a few rocks in the middle of the ocean.