Analysis / China Takes Over the World

Like more than a few other… questionable tropes in this vein, this has some (emphasis on some) grounding in history.

The reason why the South and East China Seas are called that (and why those names are liable to trigger an Internet Backdraft when mentioned on more than a few Vietnamese, Filipino, or Korean forums) is because they marked the traditional realms of Chinese influence, as their shipbuilding more or less dwarfed everybody else's until the Japanese Westernized in the late 19th century.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Analysis/ChinaTakesOverTheWorld