China’s defense budget, which stood at $119.8 billion last year, will reach $238.2 billion in 2015, an average annual increase of 18.75%, according to figures from the IHS Jane’s.
In 2015, China’s military spending, which exceed the combined budgets of the twelve other major powers of Asia-Pacific are expected to total 232.5 billion dollars. The Chinese budget should be nearly four times that of Japan, number two in the region in terms of military spending, said the IHS in a study published in Singapore.
These figures become interesting topics when the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, also Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, arrived in Washington and about to visit the Pentagon. The US government has been aware of China’s military existence in South China Sea and decided to intensify its presence in this area, where the mastery of the sky and sea is crucial. This strategy is also not without challenges after the Pentagon expenses budget has been forced to cut by $ 485 million.
The United States is able to deploy a fleet of 246 ships (including 11 aircraft carriers). China, for its part, is interested in acquiring aircraft carriers. Since 1985, China has tried to get four “used” aircraft carriers, including three built in the yards of the former USSR, in order to study the design and construction method.
One of the three ships, the unfinished Varyag, weighing 67,500 tons and in class Kouuznetsov Admiral, was purchased in 1998 with no military equipment or propulsion system. A “private” tourism company based in Macau claimed that the ship was to be formally transformed into a floating casino. After routed to the port of Dalian, it is the same ship, completely refurbished, made its first sea trials, under the Chinese flag in August 2011. And according to some experts, two other aircraft carriers of the same type are under construction.
In addition, Beijing is about to deploy the first missile in the world capable of destroying an aircraft carrier, with a range of 1500 kilometers. This explains why the importance of military expenditure in China worries the United States. But Chinese leaders reassure that China’s military technology is 20 to 30 years behind the U.S. and the modernization of the army is only meant to defend the country.