Conflicting information regarding weapons is heard from China. According to some data, missiles “Dongfeng-41”, capable of hitting targets in the United States, were successfully tested in China. According to other data, Beijing is just developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that will be able to overcome the U.S. missile defense system in the region.
Information on the development of China’s intercontinental ballistic missile capable of overcoming U.S. missile defense system in the region came in response to other news. The world’s media spread the news that China has successfully tested missiles “Dongfeng-41” that can hit targets at any point in the United States. But denial does not change the picture as a whole: for many countries it is obvious that China is becoming not only an economic superpower, but also a powerful military state whose interests have to be considered.
According to the Pentagon report released in mid-May of 2012, China’s military budget for this year is between $120 and $180 billion dollars, while the official Beijing previously reported the amount of $106 billion. Increased allocations to the military allowed the rearmament of China, so the Chinese army is now capable to carry out military operations abroad. The armed forces there are involved in operations against Somali pirates attacking Chinese ships.
China now has many of the latest weapons systems, which makes the country a pretty powerful military state in the Asia-Pacific region. China is also developing new systems that can compete with the arms of the United States. For example, a Pentagon report says that China is developing anti-ship ballistic missile capable of overcoming the distance of over 1.5 thousand km. In the next couple of years China will create a submarine capable of carrying ballistic missiles. In addition, the country’s navy has two nuclear-powered submarines of the third generation, and in the coming years five more such submarines will be put into operation. The Chinese Navy also has 48 diesel submarines. As for the surface fleet, the fleet composition of China has 79 warships, 51 transport ships and 86 patrol boats equipped with missiles.
In the air, China fleet consists of over five hundred attack aircraft and bombers, over hundreds of reconnaissance aircraft, 300 transport aircraft, as well as over a thousand fighters. In addition, China has developed a high-tech fighter Invisible J-20 that will not be detected by potential enemy radars. However, the date of deployment of J-20 is not yet specified.
In the framework of military cooperation with Russia, China bought Russian missile systems S-300 and plans to buy more S-400. Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of Russia Konstantin Biryulin said in May of 2012 that the Chinese have a few S-300 units, and with the acquisition of S-400 China they have a considerable number of these units. The expert did not report the exact number of missile systems purchased from Russia.
China is also producing its own armored vehicles. At the exhibition DSA-2012, Chinese company NORINCO introduced battle tank VT-2, based on the Chinese-Pakistani tank MBT-2000. Only a model of the tank was exhibited, and it has not been announced whether other countries are interested in purchasing these vehicles.
Despite the increase of the military budget and purchase and development of new weapons, the power of the Chinese army and its technical equipment are still far from the armed forces of NATO and the United States. For example, the quality of diesel submarines does not allow a military watch in full. The Chinese Communist Party, aware of this, each year allocates more budget funds to upgrade the military equipment and develop their own military technology.
In total, according to a German resource Welt Online, since 1995 the military budget of China has increased 500 -fold. According to a report by the Stockholm Institute for Peace Research (SIPRI), while most of the countries reduce budget spending on defense, China is increasing it, and now occupies the second place – 8.2% of global arms spending (the U.S. is in the first place with 41%), the third place is taken by Russia – 4.1%. The share of military spending in the budget of China is approximately 2% (in the U.S. – 4.7%, in Russia – 3.9%). What caused such a huge upgrade of one of the most populated countries in the world? Why does China allocate these impressive funds for the national defense?
The “White Paper” issued by the Chinese Ministry of Defense said in March of 2011 reported that the growing Chinese economy needs to protect their economic interests, including with military means. The money is needed not only for the purchase of new weapons and technology, but also for the production of its own. It is also necessary to increase the pay for the Chinese army that employs 2.3 million people. Who will Chinese military fight against? The Chinese leadership is concerned about the recent increased presence of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region, in particular the deployment of a missile defense system in Asia. U.S. missile defense radar in the region uses GPS, as well as air defense systems Patriot PAC-3, and information detection system.
China hopes that the Chinese missile development would negate the efforts of the Americans to dominate Asia. An expert on military affairs Yin Zhuo suggested that the U.S. missile defense system in Asia cannot resist the Russian and Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of over five thousand miles. At the same time, The Wall Street Journal wrote on August 22 that the U.S. plans to deploy new early warning radar systems in the region, and one of the complexes will be located in Japan and another one, apparently, in the Philippines.
The U.S. military bases on the island of Guam also concern the Chinese leaders. In addition, China has its old geopolitical interests in the region: the island of Taiwan that China considers its own. For decades, China has been trying to land on the rebellious island, but so far China’s plans do not go further than speculations. Recently, China has begun to aggressively defend its territorial interests in disputes with the neighbors. In the South China Sea, the country is trying to defend its right to a few islands in the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. China also has territorial claims against Japan – namely, the island Dyaoyudao. It is also in a dispute with India over Arunachal Pradesh – the territory that belongs to the Southern Tibet.
Experts believe that by 2015, China’s military spending will rise to $220 billion, which exceeds the military spending of all the 12 countries neighboring China. The official Beijing calls such numbers a speculation and one more reason for the U.S. to increase its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Will China get involved in a big war? Tom Doctoroff in Huffington Post said that China’s militarily aggressive behavior is no more than a myth. Yes, China is increasing its arsenal, but it will never enter into a serious military conflict with the neighboring countries and will not challenge the United States without a valid reason. After all, China’s militarily is far behind the U.S. In addition, the culture of China rejects war and residents are trying in every way to protect themeselves from all kinds of dangers.
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