China announced its new military budget today. It includes a major spending increase. According to the Christian Science Monitor, China’s military spending jumps 12.2% this year, to $132 billion. That’s a quarter of the proposed US military budget. The Obama administration has announced force cuts that take the US military back to a size not seen in about 70 years.
China justifies its military build-up as defensive, of course.
China needs a powerful military, explained Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the National People’s Congress, on Tuesday because “if some country provokes or undermines consensus or even damages peace and order in the region, then China must respond effectively.”
On Wednesday the state-run news agency Xinhua followed up with a clearly worded commentary. “As a responsible major stakeholder in regional peace and stability, China needs sufficient strength to prevent hot-headed players from misjudgment and thus forestall conflict and war, so as to maintain a favorable environment for the socioeconomic development of all in the neighborhood.”
China has said little about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but has quietly sided with the Russians.
China’s military budget is now the second-largest in the world. Its military now includes an aircraft carrier, and it has tested stealth fighters.