Reuters says in its report today titled China defence spending seen rising as territorial rows deepen: “A series of territorial disputes with its neighbours will ensure China boosts defence spending when it reveals this year’s military budget ahead of the annual parliamentary sitting next week, security experts say.”
It proves foreign media’s ignorance about China. Before US President Obama announced America’s switch of its pivot to Asia, we often heard Chinese officials, leaders, political scientists, well-known journalists and academics say China should make good use of the opportunity of the current peace in the world as China needs two decades of peace. What did they mean?
They meant that they believed in two decades time, China’s economy would be much bigger and its weapons, superior to put an end to China’s century-long history of being bullied by other countries.
At that time, China had already drawn up its plan to upgrade its military gradually so that its military will be advanced enough to prevent China from being bullied by other countries 20 years from now.
As far back as 2003, when there was no tension in the East and South China Seas, the annual report of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), revealed the State Council’s decision that China should become a maritime superpower.
The decision was based on the facts that all the invasions China suffered during the above-mentioned 100 years came from the sea. China should have a strong navy to defeat its enemy at sea before the enemy’s invasion on the land. Protection of China’s trade lifeline was also a consideration but not as great a priority as national defence.
For that purpose, China certainly has been increasing its military spending at a rate similar to its GDP growth rate, but the actual rates of increase were always national secrets. The figures China made known to the public were what China thought fit for both Chinese and international public opinions.
Reuters is correct that this time China will announce a greater increase in military spending. That is because it fits the domestic and international situations now. Domestically, it tells its people their government is making real efforts to defend China’s territorial integrity.
That will please its people. Internationally, it gives other countries the challenging message: China has the resources to be engaged in an arms race with you. What can you do? Do you have the resources for that?
What is China’s priority now? It will not be bullied by other countries in the future. That is the major part of what Xi Jinping refers to as the China dream–the renewal of the Chinese nation.
How much will China spend for that dream? As much as it can afford.
How much of the real spending China will make public? As long as the amount is acceptable to domestic and international public opinions. That will certainly not be the real amount.
China has stepped up its military buildup since America’s involvement in the South China Sea dispute. It conducted the first test of its aircraft carrier in a hurry last August when the boat had not yet been able to sail on its own.
Obama’s unprecedented participation in the ASEAN summit meeting on November 11, 2011 and the announcement of America’s return to Asia, encouraged China’s neighbours to confront China in their border disputes with China. China has further stepped up its military buildup since then.
It conducted further tests of and commissioned its aircraft carrier, launched its third 071 landing platform dock (LPD) in September 2011 and a fourth during the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival in early 2012. The Festival is the most important holiday for Chinese people and normally, nobody works on the holiday. (071 LPD is a 20,000-ton amphibious transport dock similar to the US-built San Antonio-class LPD).
Then, there were the test flights of the J-31 stealth fighter jet, J-18 VTOL aircraft and Y-20 transport aircraft and successful landing of the J-15 carrier-based fighter jets on China’s aircraft carrier, There will soon be a project to invest $16 billion in development of aircraft engines.
On the navy side, there were the commissioning of Type 052D destroyer and Type 056 frigate, the planned construction of Type 055 destroyer, the development of nuclear engine for China’s nuclear powered aircraft carrier and the construction of submarines with less noise.
On the rocket side, China put its own satellite GPS system into trial operation and declared its plan to launch 6 more satellites in 2012 to improve the system. Guided by this system, China’s missiles and bombs will be much more accurate.
It has successfully carried out a test to intercept an ICBM and stepped up its development of Dongfeng 21D anti-aircraft carrier missiles.
Certainly, a lot of money was involved in all those activities. The question is how much of the money will be regarded as military spending. The satellite GPS system can well be regarded as a civil project. The nuclear and aircraft engine projects can also be regarded as civil ones as such engines can also be used by civil ships and aircraft.
I believe it is safe to say that China now spends more than the US for its military development in real terms.
Do you know what China’s official jargon “It’s a political task” means?
It means that one has to fulfil the task no matter what it will cost.
Now almost all China’s weapon developers and producers are state-owned enterprises. When an enterprise is assigned a military task, say the development of a carrier-based aircraft, has been given a certain amount of fund and is told “it’s a political task,” the chief executive of the enterprise will spend whatever the project needs no matter what loss his enterprise will suffer for that.
As the said executive is appointed by the government, when his performance is assessed, whether he has fulfilled the political task is much more important than what loss his enterprise has suffered for the task.
The executive will certainly cover the loss in the project by the profit that the enterprise has earned from civil projects and refrain from asking the state for more funds.
As a result, while China enjoys substantial discount in its development and purchase of advanced weapons; the US is paying through the nose for its advanced weapons, as its weapon developers and producers regard military projects as the best opportunities to make money.
When told “It’s a political task,” in test flight, the pilot is more willing to risk his life; while the scientists and engineers will disregard the risk to their health in working overtime. Luo Yang, the engineer in charge of developing the J-15 carrier-based aircraft, died on job of a heart attack at the age of 51.
Certainly those involved will be awarded. They will have better chance of promotion and be honoured. Luo Yang was granted the status of revolutionary martyr and national hero.
The following is the full text of Reuters report:
After almost three decades of sharply increased military outlays, an increasingly assertive China now has the firepower to challenge rivals claiming strategically important and resource-rich territory in the East China and South China seas.
The Chinese navy, now second in size only to the U.S. fleet in terms of raw numbers, has become a genuine blue-water force and is conducting almost continuous patrols and exercises in these contested waters.
Over the past six months, China’s stand-off with Japan over a series of rocky islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China has become more acrimonious.
Beijing is also in dispute with the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia, over territory in the South China Sea.
To pay for these deployments and new hardware in the pipeline, most analysts expect that this year’s budget will continue the long-term trend of double-digit percentage increases in annual spending.
“Estimates are still for steady growth,” said Ni Lexiong, a military expert at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.
“With China’s current attitude, it’s not going to let itself get bullied by anyone.”
Alongside missions to assert sovereignty over disputed territory, the Chinese navy is also deploying naval flotillas to the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia as part of its contribution to UN-authorised anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.
Beijing last month announced the departure of the 14th of these missions since December 2008.
These high-tempo operations are a sharp departure for a military that was largely confined to exercises and training within China’s land borders and coastal waters until recent years.
But they impose a new burden on a budget that had largely been devoted to the rapid modernization of military hardware including big orders for new warships, submarines, strike aircraft and missiles.
Beijing last year announced a 11.2 per cent increase in military spending to $106 billion.
However foreign military analysts say much of China’s military spending is not included in the published budget.
The Pentagon last year estimated that Beijing’s real outlays for 2012 would be between $120 billion and $180 billion.
China’s spending is now second only to the United States although the Pentagon is bracing for a sharp drop in outlays as part of government-wide budget cuts, known as a sequester, starting from March 1.
However, China has its own budget woes as senior political and military officials complain of rampant corruption and waste in its 2.3 billion-strong People’s Liberation Army (PLA). (2.3 million instead of 2.3 billion–Chan Kai Yee)
The PLA headquarters has issued new rules to tighten spending across a range of areas including construction, procurement, conferences and receptions in a bid to curb waste and corruption, the official Xinhua news agency reported this week.
The new rules, approved by Xi Jinping, China’s Communist party leader and chairman of the Central Military Commission, were also intended to redirect spending toward combat readiness, high-technology weaponry and training, Xinhua said.Source: Reuters “China defense spending seen rising as territorial rows deepen”
- China expands fleet amid ambitions as a global power (chinadailymail.com)
- Chinese navy buildup no threat to US, but a possible threat to Japan (chinadailymail.com)
- China defense spending seen rising as territorial rows deepen (dailystar.com.lb)
Categories: Defence & Aerospace