This year’s Chinese military budget, approved by the National People’s Congress, is 670 billion yuan ($US106.4 billion), an 11.2 percent increase from 2011 and a doubling from 2006.
As a result, China is only the second country, after the US, to have a defence budget of over $100 billion, well ahead of third-placed France, which spent $61.2 billion in 2011. According to IHS Jane’s, in four years China’s military spending could exceed the rest of Asia combined, “leaving Japan and India far behind”.
The Western media, especially in the US, seized on the figure as further evidence of the military threat posed by China. The New York Times, for instance, wrote: “The new [Chinese] hardware is being displayed at a time when there is a growing gap between China’s rising military expenditures and slowing spending by other countries in the region, many of them American allies. That gap has reinforced the realisation that the United States may not remain the singularly dominant power in the Asia-Pacific region if Chinese military spending keeps escalating.”