China increases military spending 11.2% in 2012, likely response to new U.S. Asia-Pacific focus

By End the Lie

China has announced that they will be increasing their funding for the military by 11.2 percent in 2012 on top of the 12.7 percent increase in 2011.

This move seems to be quite obviously intended to act as a counterweight to the American military’s shift to focus on the Asia-Pacific region announced by President of the United States Barack Obama last year.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, this policy shift does not involve just the United States, but indeed is actually a global expansion of the U.S.-NATO military machine involving complex multilateral ties.

This would bring the total official spending on the People’s Liberation Army to 670.3 billion yuan, or around $110 billion, for this year, according to Reuters.

This announcement is China’s first military budget since Obama announced the new policy and when tensions are quite high in the South China Sea dispute.

I have noted the antagonistic approach taken by the United States in this dispute multiple times now, and it only makes sense that China would seek to arm themselves more heavily.

I have posited that America might actually be trying to goad China in the dispute as they have ignored all of China’s reasonable requests. China has asked countries without a direct interest in the dispute to stop meddling, which is exactly what the United States is doing, but of course that has been ignored.

Numerous countries have maritime disputes with China and the United States has clearly chosen sides in the dispute, even arming some of the nations involved along with carrying out joint military exercises.

Even with this latest increase, a spokesman for the Chinese national parliament, Li Zhaoxing said that the budget is “relatively low” as a percentage of China’s gross domestic product relative to other countries.

Obviously the United States has one of the single most bloated military budgets on Earth, a budget so large that it dwarfs many other nations combined and results in huge spending on projects which often end up being put on hold or grounded altogether.

According to Channel News Asia, the spokesman said that the budget was aimed at “safeguarding sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity,” which is likely a reference to the South China Sea.

“It will not in the least pose a threat to other countries,” he added.

The Associated Press, unsurprisingly I might add, takes issue with this claim, citing the Chinese military buildup which has progressed over some two decades with regular double-digit increases in the military spending.

They claim that the massive nation has become “a formidable regional force, increasingly able to project power far from China.”

Some of China’s most recent purchases have been new nuclear submarines and other more modern naval vessels, among which is China’s first aircraft carrier which the United States has taken issue with in the past.

Others include a domestically produced J-10 jet fighter and a new J-20 stealth fighter.

Some have questioned the legitimacy of China’s military buildup in terms peaceful ends, like Kazuya Sakamoto, an international security professor at Osaka University in Japan, who was recently quoted by Reuters.

“China shares its land border with 14 countries; it used to make sense that a country in such a position maintains strong conventional forces. But in this nuclear age, it does not really make sense [that] China, a nuclear-armed country, continues to build up its military at such a pace,” Sakamoto said.

I do not think that this is accurate in any way. Nuclear weapons are not some kind of magical deterrent which prevents any and all conflict.

Nowadays, leaders are aware that people are not going to drop a nuclear bomb in most situations so having more conventional forces only makes sense.

If a small-scale conflict flared up in the South China Sea with American involvement, would China respond by dropping a nuke on one of their biggest revenue sources?

I doubt it. Instead, I think it is much more realistic to believe that they would respond proportionally with only the necessary force as they are aware of the capability of the Western military machine and its sheer destructive power.

Analysts cited by Channel News Asia claim that this increase in military spending was a bit smaller than expected because China is attempting to ease concerns about their growing military power within the United States (and the West in general, I might add) and the region as well.

Willy Lam, an expert on China at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said, “It is doubtful whether the message will get across because most countries know that the real budget is at least double the published one.”

Based on Lam’s statement, it appears that China has taken a page out of the United States’ book and decided to leverage the power of an opaque “black budget” and the ability to funnel unknown amounts of money into completely secret projects shielded from public scrutiny.

Lam’s statement seems highly speculative, so I’m not quick to take his claims as gospel, although I think it would be naïve to think that China wouldn’t have a black budget of some kind, even if it is not as large as Lam is making it out to be.

The situation with the South China Sea and the Western expansion in the Asia-Pacific region is troubling, to say the least, and the increasing militarization on both sides of the conflict is hardly reassuring.

I believe that we must take a balanced approach when analyzing this situation. Both sides are doing nothing to encourage peaceful resolution or a diplomatic approach, with the United States arming, training and conducting exercises with countries involved in the South China Sea dispute and increasing the American presence in the region while China cannot be considered totally innocent either.

The way this will be resolved is anyone’s guess at this point but I hope that the United States and other Western nations stop meddling in affairs in which they have no direct interest and thus put countries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea at ease to some degree.

The global encirclement effort being led by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is far from something which encourages other countries to cut their military spending or disarm.

Indeed, as I regularly point out, this strategy only pushes these countries to spend more and become increasingly militarized and cagey. I can hardly blame them given the West’s imperialist history and ugly track record in recent decades.

Did I miss something? Would you like to share your take, give me a story idea or even get some of your own writing published? Contact me via email at [email protected]

One Response to China increases military spending 11.2% in 2012, likely response to new U.S. Asia-Pacific focus

  1. Anonymous March 6, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    China isn’t a threat to the US they want to protect themselves from the US

    Reply

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