China plans double-digit boost in military spending
China will raise its military spending by 11.2 percent in 2012 as the Asian giant worries about the US presence in the region.
(Page 2 of 2)
Beijing has mounted a robust defense buildup for more than two decades that has transformed the military into a formidable regional force, increasingly able to project power far from China. While chiefly aimed at the US, the buildup is also jangling nerves among Asian rival India and neighbors Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, which have maritime disputes with China.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Mindful of the unease the burgeoning military has created among its neighbors and the opportunity it has given the United States to raise its profile in the region, Li repeated several times that China's intentions are peaceful and defensive.
"China's limited military strength is aimed at safeguarding sovereignty, national security, and territorial integrity and will not pose a threat to other countries," he said.
With the huge outlays, the Chinese military's armory include the home-built J-10 jet fighter, new nuclear submarines, and modern surface vessels armed with supersonic anti-ship missiles. Last year, China began testing a new J-20 stealth fighter and launched sea trials of its first aircraft carrier, a refurbished hulk purchased from Ukraine. Cyber-warfare programs are also burgeoning.
While Beijing insists its military is defensive and is not a threat, defense analysts say the new capabilities are aimed at keeping foreign forces, especially the US, out of the seas and airspace around China. The South China Sea has become a new potential flash point, with Beijing's more powerful navy and an assertive policy to defend contested claims to groups of islands, reefs, and atolls, and the US has declared its own interest in making sure sea lanes remain open.
Growing Chinese power and East Asia's economic importance is driving neighboring countries to boost defense spending and has prompted the US to redirect defense resources to the region. Washington's moves to rotate new troops to Australia, shore up alliances with other traditional allies Japan and the Philippines while forging new military ties to Vietnam has heightened Beijing's fears of encirclement.
Get daily or weekly updates from CSMonitor.com delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.