WASHINGTON (AFP) - China's military spending is 40 to 70 percent higher than it officially acknowledges, and is likely to exceed that of any US ally in two decades, a study by the RAND Corporation has found.
The study estimated China's current annual defense spending at between 2.3 and 2.8 percent of its gross domestic product, or between 69 billion and 78 billion dollars in 2001 dollars.
That compares to US defense spending of nearly 430 billion dollars in 2004, which was 3.9 percent of
GDP in 2004, it said.
"China's defense spending has more than doubled over the past six years, almost catching up with Great Britain and Japan," said Keith Crane, the lead author of the study, "Modernizing China's Military: Opportunities and Constraints."
"Although the rate of increase has slowed, by 2025 China will be spending more on defense than any of our allies," he said.
The study said Chinese defense industries have grown more efficient; benefited from access to foreign military systems and technologies; and improved the quality and sophistication of domestically produced military goods in areas such as information technology, shipbuilding and defense electronics.
RAND pointed out, however, that the study's estimates of Chinese military spending, although 40 to 70 percent higher than the official figures, were still considerably lower than other outside estimates.
The report said military spending likely to grow over the next decade because of the sheer heft of the Chinese economy, which is expected to triple in size over the next two decades even as growth rates subside.
On the other hand, the government's ability to continue increasing military spending will be constrained by rising demand for social services, combined with rising government debt, the report said.
The study was conducted by RAND's Project Air Force, a federally funded research center that does research on subjects of interest to leaders of the US Air Force.
Whats really interesting is in the new base re-alignment a lot of the sub bases are moving into the Pacific theatre hmmmm...........
dumbasses at RAND (lurking???) are discounting the enormous disparity in infrastructure investment growth (US vis a vis China) that will support a military production machine that will kick our asses.
The ONLY card we have are the boomers, and if they can sort out finding them, we are no longer #1.
I could have told you that.
They use their communist SLAVE labor to dump lower than cost products on our market to damage our economy, and any "profit" they make goes toward their war machine.
China is not our friend, and every damn sellout, traitor business who has jumped ship to go there will be guilty of helping China when we end up fighting them.
We will sell the commies the ropes that hang us.
Ronery....I'm so ronery....
Misleading title. The RAND title:
Everyone knows the Chinese understate their defense spending, particularly as a result of research funds being earmarked not as military spending but scientific. It's really saying that our previous estimates of the actual figure have been too high.
Perusing it now... I'll post any interesting tidbits.
The Chinese are only communist by name. Their economy has been very capitalist in nature since Deng XiaoPing made major changes at the end of the 1970s. They are natural born capitalists.
We won't be going to war with China. Because:
A. China has no interest in it.
B. China has had no foreign policy to speak of for the last 25 years or so.
C. China is concerned only with its economic growth; a war with us would severely damage their economy.
D. If China was interested in war it would have thumped Taiwan a long time ago. China is content with just undermining their independence movements through policy. Once again, a war with them would damage their economy greatly.
E. China will be an asymmetrical super power. All of their power will be vested in the economic world, not their military.
China has a strong nationalist interest in Taiwan, to the point of lunacy. The general populace would be happy to go to war with the U.S. The leaders are a bit more rational, but who knows? If they fall on hard times a war may be what they need to win back popular opinion.
Until the late 1980's, certainly they were withdrawn from the international scene. In the last 15 years they have been heavily engaging international political and economic bodies, and been a strong voice for the idea that national sovereignty trumps human rights, for example, in UN peacekeeping (gee, I wonder why). The sleeping giant is waking.
They are happy with economic growth, but never underestimate the willingness of a nation to lose money for some tracts of nostalgic land.
They haven't been able to thump China because their military has been weak, slow to modernize, and plagued with institutional command, control, and logistical problems. Their attempts to land on neighboring islands to Taiwan in the 1950's were disastrous (as have been most of their military campaigns). This is changing, albiet slowly. They recognize their faults in observing and critiquing the US military in action in the past decade and are moving to emulate. Technologically and institutionall, though, they have a long way to go. Refer to a recent Taiwan straits thread for the full "Can China invade Taiwan" discussion.
Not the way the PLA sees it. They are asymetrical as they seek to gain asymmetrical military advantages in a conflict, rather than matching us fighter for fighter, carrier for carrier. Their ballistic missile program is already a mere decade behind the West, though more integrated systems like fighters and Naval vessels are trailing by two or more decades. That's their view of asymmetric - play to their strengths.
If we do end up going to war with China, it will be our own fault. Whether it is our selling arms to Taiwan while playing nice with China or constantly raising human rights issues.
Most Chinese believe the issue that shapes Sino-US relations the most is Taiwan. We are going to piss China off by backing the Taiwanese military, yet working with China economically. Also, most Chinese view the U.S. as friendly, so I don't believe there would be widespread support for a war with us. However, a majority of them do believe that we are trying to contain China, and they may be right, look at our new textile quota for example. But China has a lot of domestic issues it needs to sort out before it can really over take us in anyway, extreme pollution for example.
Ah yes, also forgot the Spraltys. Oil and gas rich deposits surrounding the islands, with five nations competing for claims to them. No corporation has yet been willing to develop there out of fear of political instability. One of the top hotspots for international conflict in this coming century, and China has a big stake in this one.