Sunday, April 01, 2007

China's Peaceful Rise -- Not!

A senior US defense analyst says that China's military power continues to grow. What a shock, eh?

China's growing military capability also gives it a better chance to counter the US or another country that might intervene in the event of a war, Mark Cozad, a senior analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, told a Congressional advisory panel in a detailed assessment of China's military strength.

China raised its military budget by nearly 18 percent this year to about US$45 billion -- the biggest increase since 1995. The US Department of Defense says actual Chinese defense spending could be twice as high.

The Chinese navy and air force have been major beneficiaries of the increased money China has funneled into its military, Cozad told the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

China has bought or developed new diesel submarines, destroyers with long-range air defense systems and anti-ship cruise missiles; the air force has invested in advanced fighter aircraft and bombers, he said.

China's military modernization, Cozad said, focuses "on presenting a credible threat to Taiwan and preventing any third party that might intervene on Taiwan's behalf in a crisis."

Chinese officials say they are open about military spending and have increased military exchanges with other countries, including the US. Any outbreak of hostilities could ensnare the US, which is Taiwan's biggest arms supplier and is bound by law to help the nation defend itself.

Cozad said "the most telling sign of China's modernization and the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait" is the huge number of short-range ballistic missiles directly opposite Taiwan that is growing at an average rate of 100 missiles a year. US officials said last year that China had 800 missiles aimed at Taiwan.

Let's hope the DPP hits the defense issue hard during the upcoming elections. The US could take a few steps to make that easier, such as bringing the price of the submarines down to a more realistic issue. If the US government is seriously committed to defending the island, it needs to help the side that is also seriously committed to defending the island.


Mark said...

The Chinese military gets a lot more bang for the buck than the US's does.

David said...

Every year there is some stupid drum beat about Chinese defense spending.
Don’t you people ever get bored of touting the Chinese boggy man?

Maybe you should look into 80s -90s defense spending for both PRC and ROC.

The fact is since commodity price in China increased much more than the military spending should shed some light to the situation. ie 1981-89 commodity prices increased by over 90%.

Clearly PRC is only playing catch-up. Ever since the 70s the general funding in China was directed at economic development and PLA was sidelined. Many of the suggested arms purchase with the west (US) fell through because
1) They didn’t have the money
2) There wasn’t any urgency since Taiwan didn’t make a fuss about going independent.

At the time PLA salary was a pathetic amount even compared to lowly city factory workers. Wages increase by more than 200% just in the last 10 years.