The most recent publication of ‘The Military Balance’ which exposes the annual, global military budgets has confirmed that China is now the second largest military spender. The Chinese government have plans to devote well over the total expenditure of the UK, France and Germany on its military (Farmer and Sanchez, 2014). The USA still holds first position and is unlikely to be overtaken in the near future. However, other countries are slightly daunted about the prospect of China’s expanding military power; this rise in military outgoings has prompted the surrounding Asian economies to step up their own defence production. This has led to an overall 23% increase of military spending in Asia alone. The recent recession and public spending cuts are the reasons relating to the UK’s reduction in military budget (Farmer and Sanchez, 2014).
These statistics highlight the growing shift of power from the West to the East. The hard economic times that the USA and European countries are experiencing have allowed China and other emerging economies to overtake across multiple sectors (Marcus, 2014). Japan, as an economic world leader, has clearly felt threatened by China’s global military presence. As a result, the Japanese are investing in new air and marine technologies, in order to compete with China over recurring issues such as; the ownership of the East China Sea Islands and the patrolling of the South China Sea (BBC, 2013). It could be argued that the growing military budget of China is due to these territorial tensions, however, it is also suggested that this is a natural progression as China becomes more economically and politically prominent. Subsequently, this type of rapid defence spending causes a feeling of unease for other nations. However, China is not the only country with this type of expansion, Russia have also dramatically restarted the modernisation of their defences, along with the Middle Eastern states. Although this is thought to be due to the current financial growth through oil exports.
China’s willingness to play a part in global security, allows the possible withdrawal of current players such as the UK and USA. This would leave many in the West concerned (Farmer and Sanchez, 2014). The discussion amongst other global superpowers is how China can be controlled if it were to become a threat in the future (Tisdall, 2014).
BBC (2013) Japan boost military forces to counter China. Available [Online] at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25411653 [Accessed on: 12/02/2014]
Farmer, B. and Sanchez, R. (2014) China and Russia help global defence spending rise for first time in five years. Available [Online] at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10615466/China-and-Russia-help-global-defence-spending-rise-for-first-time-in-five-years.html [Accessed on: 12/02/2014]
Marcus, J. (2014) Military spending: Balance tipping towards China. Available [Online] at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26054545 [Accessed on: 12/02/2014]
Tisdall, S. (2014) China’s military presence is growing. Does superpower collision loom? Available [Online] at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/01/china-military-presence-superpower-collision-japan [Accessed on: 12/02/2014]