Monday, March 5, 2007

China Rising

China, with the world's largest active duty army of some 2.3 million men, has been pumping huge amounts of funds into its military over the past fifteen years -- far in excess of anything that they need to maintain the defense of their nation.

But China’s military modernization efforts, particularly its drive to develop advanced weaponry, have been raising concern from Washington to Tokyo to New Delhi, where officials are worried that the buildup could be as much offensive as defensive. In January, China set off fears of an arms race in space when it successfully tested an antisatellite missile that destroyed one its own aging weather satellites. A month earlier, the People’s Liberation Army began deploying the country’s first state-of-the-art jet fighter, the J-10.

These advances reflect China’s intense focus on scientific and technological development, and are the fruits of more than a decade of increased military spending. China’s defense outlays increased an average of about 15 percent a year from 1990 to 2005, according to the Chinese military. This year’s jump is the largest one reported since military spending rose by 19.4 percent in 2002.

Military analysts in the United States and Europe say that China’s public military budget actually reflects only a fraction of its overall defense spending, and that the real figure is likely to be two to four times higher. Most defense analysts agree that China’s military focus is to build a force that would prevail in any conflict with Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province, and also to be capable of creating a deterrent to American military intervention.
Read the entire story here. China is rapidly becoming a military threat in the Far East, even as they act to erode our strength abroad with their support of Iran and other countries hostile to the U.S. China must not only be watched, but there needs to be serious consideration given to militarizing Japan and giving greater military aid and equipment to Taiwan -- a democracy with a flourishing economy.

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