Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

China's military spending to hit $110 billion in 2012

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-04

China's government unveiled plans Sunday to boost military spending by 11.2% this year, bringing spending to $110 billion in the country's first defence budget since the United States moved to reinforce its military presence in the Asia-Pacific.

REUTERS - China will boost military spending by 11.2 percent this year, the government said on Sunday, unveiling Beijing’s first defence budget since President Barack Obama launched a “pivot” to reinforce U.S. influence across the Asia-Pacific.

The increase was announced by Li Zhaoxing, the spokesman for China’s parliament, and will bring official spending on the People’s Liberation Army to 670.3 billion yuan ($110 billion) for 2012, after a 12.7 percent increase last year and a nearly unbroken string of double-digit rises across two decades.
 
Beijing’s public budget is widely thought by foreign experts to undercount its real spending on military modernisation, which has unnerved Asian neighbours and drawn repeated calls from Washington for China to share more about its intentions.
 
Li said the world has nothing to fear, and the money spent on the PLA paled in comparison with the Pentagon’s outlays.
 
“You can see that we have 1.3 billion people with a large land areas and a long coastline, but our outlays on defence are quite low compared to other major countries,” Li told a news conference before the annual session of the National People’s Congress, the Communist Party-controlled legislature that will approve the budget.
 
“China’s limited military power is for the sake of preserving national sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity,” said Li, a former foreign minister. “Fundamentally, it constitutes no threat to other countries.”
 
Asian neighbours, however, have been nervous about Beijing’s expanding military, and this latest double-digit rise could reinforce worries in Japan, India and southeast Asian nations.
 
Obama has sought to reassure Asian allies that the United States will stay a key player in the area, and the Pentagon has said it will “rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region”.
 
“China shares its land border with 14 countries; it used to make sense that a country in such a position maintains strong conventional forces,” said Kazuya Sakamoto, a professor at Osaka University in Japan who researches international security.
 
“But in this nuclear age, it does not really make sense China, a nuclear-armed country, continues to build up its military at such a pace.”
 
Obama’s proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2013 calls for a Pentagon base budget of $525.4 billion, about $5.1 billion less than approved for 2012.

'Growing bolder'
 
Beijing has sought to balance long-standing wariness about U.S. intentions with a desire for steady relations with Washington, especially as both governments focus on domestic politics this year, when Obama faces a re-election fight and China’s ruling Communist Party undergoes a leadership handover.
 
But the U.S. “pivot” has also stirred disquiet in China, where some PLA officers called it an effort to fence in their country and frustrate Beijing’s territorial claims.
 
China has advertised its long-term military ambitions with shows of new hardware, including its first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in early 2011, and its launch of a fledgling aircraft carrier in August—both trials of technologies that remain years from deployment.
 
Beijing is also building new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles as part of its naval modernization.
 
China’s military build-up is likely to continue “unabated”, irrespective of recent U.S. moves in Asia, the U.S. military commander for the Asia-Pacific region, Admiral Robert Willard, said on Tuesday.
 
Japan and China have locked horns over islands each claims in the East China Sea; Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations have challenged Beijing over claims to swathes of the South China Sea that could be rich in oil and gas.
 
Symbolic value, practical limitations
 
China’s defence spending was 1.28 percent of its gross domestic product in 2011, while the United States and Britain both devoted more then 2 percent of their economies to their military forces, the spokesman Li said.
 
China’s military modernisation need to be kept in perspective, said Michael Beckley, a research fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, who has studied the national strength of China and the United States.
 
“There’s no doubt China’s new hardware has important symbolic value and, at least in the case of the ASBM, important coercive value - the U.S. navy has to think twice now before getting too close to China’s shores,” Beckley said in emailed comments, referring to China’s anti-ship ballistic missile.
 
“But the PLA’s progress needs to be viewed in the context of China’s low level of economic development,” he added.
 
“China’s economic weaknesses constrain its ability to produce cohesive military systems that link weapons and soldiers to sensors, satellites and command centers.”
 
The Pentagon estimated China’s real total military outlays in 2010 were over $160 billion, which would easily make it the world’s second biggest defence spender after the United States.
 
“In some areas, China is already able to put U.S. forces at risk, and that’s all it needs,” said Rory Medcalf of the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, who specialises in Asian security.
 
“If you look at a bigger picture than that at the aggregate force capability or the global stage, then of course the U.S. is a long way ahead,” he added.

Date created : 2012-03-04

  • US-CHINA

    US-China talks tackle trade issues, human rights

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    China warns US over Asian presence ahead of talks

    Read more

  • China - USA

    US and China hold talks at East Asia summit

    Read more

COMMENT(S)