China will ramp up military spending this year as the United States and other countries take money away from defense budgets.
China is bumping up its funding for China’s People’s Liberation Army by nearly $10 billion, according to the New York Times’ Sinosphere blog.
China will spend $148 billion on its military this year, up from $139.2 billion in 2013, according to IHS Jane’s, a defense industry consulting and analysis company. The United States spends far more – a forecast $574.9 billion this year – but that is down from $664.3 billion in 2012 after budget cuts slashed spending. By next year China will spend more on defense than Britain, Germany and France combined, according to IHS. By 2024, it will spend more than all of Western Europe, it estimates.
The surge in weapons spending by Beijing – military outlays this year are set to be a third higher than in 2009 – has come in tandem with an escalation in tensions with its neighbors over longstanding territorial disputes. Vietnam and the Philippines have overlapping claims with China to islands and shoals in the South China Sea. Japan and China have been at loggerheads over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
The extra spending has bought some flashy hardware. In 2012 China commissioned its first aircraft carrier – the Liaoning – built from the hull of an uncompleted ship ordered by the Soviet navy in the 1980s. In 2011 a Chinese-made aircraft with stealth radar-evading capabilities flew on a test flight as Robert M. Gates, then the United States defense secretary, was in Beijing on an official visit.