China Ratchets Up Military Spending

The so called rivalry between the United States and China is brewing. China has announced an 11.2% increase in military spending, making its military budget approximately $100.5 billion. The potential area of friction between the United States and China regards greater control of the sea lanes off its coast. China has purchased a new class of nuclear submarines and a more sophisticated radar system. As a result, the Pentagon is seeking to develop better technologies to counteract China’s Navy. The Obama administration also started strategic security dialogue talks, to try to foster certainty and conversation between the two nations. Moreover, the United States is concerned about China’s cyber warfare capabilities. A relevant example is the 2010 incident, where state-owned China Telecom advertised erroneous network routes, which caused heavy internet traffic to go through Chinese servers. The result was that US computer networks were interrupted, causing a disruption in US federal government and military computers. James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, has deemed China’s cyber warfare activities a “formidable concern.” Either way, it is clear that as China continues to grow, it will clash with United States in terms of who will be the large military player.

3 comments

  1. Regarding China’s cyber warfare capabilities, I would agree that these activities are a “formidable concern.” China’s cyber warfare capabilities have been increasing for some time now. In fact, many cyber attacks are originating in China, including a massive cyber attack against Google. However, whether these attacks can be accurately pegged to the Chinese government is another issue entirely. Cyber attacks in general can also be extremely destructive. Damage from these attacks can range from small data destruction to mass government interference. For example, in 2007, cyber attacks bombarded Estonian websites. Because of Estonia’s wired “e-government”, its infrastructure was a huge target for cyber attackers. In the end, government websites, newspapers, universities, hospitals, banks, and fire and paramedic services, were all victims of the attacks caused by allegedly one million computers operated by third parties working together to bring down the Estonian government. These cyber attacks lasted for weeks, causing social unrest and rioting which resulted in property damage, as well as 150 people injured. Cyber attacks emerging from China and throughout the world are becoming more and more prevalent in the international community, and as a result, the United States should make it a priority to guard itself against such destructive attacks.

  2. Here is the perfect example of the old saying, money is power. Yet, compared to the lofty billions of dollars allocated for defense-related expenditures in the United States, China’s recent increases over the past few years might not be intended for the sole purpose of entering a rat-race with the United States. Today, an article on ChinaDaily.com indicated that the increase in military spending is aimed toward covering the army’s training, maintenance, equipment, and salaries. Chinese soldiers have not received the most generous salaries in the past few decades, so these increases in salaries could promote a greater standard of living for members of the armed services. Also, China is admittedly increasing its prowess in military reform and modernization, namely in those areas in which China has lagged behind such as the country’s maritime interests. It is interesting to see that the increase is over 10%, but many sources point to the fact that China is looking to simply update its current spending to address its ever-expanding military tasks. Certainly, the White House should encourage open communication and engage in dialogues with China in order to determine how this increasing budget is expected to meet China’s developing military strategies.

    ChinaDaily.com Article on China’s Defense Budget: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-03/09/content_14793425.htm

  3. China’s recent military buildup has consequences besides to those impacting U.S.-China relations. Many of China’s neighbors are “uncomfortable” with China’s military buildup, especially when it is considered in the light of China’s recent claims for maritime areas and islands already claimed by other nations in the South China Sea. According to The Japan Times (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120322mr.html) Chinese officials in Beijing and diplomats posted in Asia-Pacific countries have been trying to convince neighboring nations to not be alarmed by its recent military buildup. But, the evidence indicates that China’s neighbors are in fact alarmed as they are strengthening their own defense forces and developing closer security ties with the U.S. and among themselves.

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