China’s neighbours will watch its military spending closely

China’s is now the world’s second largest defence spender, something that would surely alarm its neighbours who will want to speed up the modernisation of their armed forces as well.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force [PLAAF] is a big beneficiary of this money. It has inducted the Chengdu Aircraft J-10 [official video above] and Chengdu J/F-17 fighters [below], and is believed to be having trials for the J-10B, an upgraded version of the multi-role fighter.

Ongoing military programmes within China re reportedly looking into fifth generation fighter, unmanned combat aerial vehicle programmes, new attack helicopters, airborne early warning and control [AEW&C] systems, and high-altitude long-endurance UAVs.

China’s neighbours like Japan and South Korea have been increasingly wary of Beijing’s plans to modernise its air force. Japan has renewed its efforts to procure the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor from the USA to modernise its air force, while Australia said earlier this year that China could become a maritime threat.

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One Response to China’s neighbours will watch its military spending closely

  1. Dave 11 June, 2009 at 5:15 pm #

    It’s only natural that China wants a military capability on par with its economic power.

    However, I don’t necessarily buy into the theory that this means the Chinese will be a particularly aggressive power as they rise. Fact is the Chinese economy is dependent upon trade and they have made a huge investment in the US economy by purchasing enormous amounts of our debt- they’re as dependent on us, as we are on them.

    Secondly, being that the domestic legitimacy of the Chinese one-party state is contingent upon delivering sustained economic growth, I very seriously doubt the Chinese are looking for a fight. A war would severely disrupt trade, and would thus suffocate economic growth, consequently undermining the Communist Party’s domestic legitimacy. We’re already seeing this in the current downturn.

    I seriously doubt the South Koreans or Japanese have to worry about the Chinese. Historically, China has more to fear from Japanese aggression than vice-versa. Japan’s insistence on procuring the F-22, which really has mainly overtly offensive capabilities being a stealth fighter, ought to send some very negative messages to the victims of their aggression- China and Korea.

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