According to a new forecast by the research group IHS Global Insight, China is set to double its defense spending between 2011 and 2015. This increase from $119.8 billion to $238.2 billion will exceed the combined spending of the next twelve largest defense budgets in the Asia-Pacific region, solidifying China's status as a regional superpower.
This increase in military capability has been enabled by China's rapidly expanding economy. From 2000 to 2009, China's defense budget grew by an average of 12 percent annually. The projected surge of China's gross domestic product over the next three years will accelerate this growth, allowing for an annual increase in defense spending of 18.75 percent.
This rise is unlikely to subside anytime soon, notes IHS Asia-Pacific chief economist Rajiv Biswas. He says “Beijing has been able to devote an increasingly large portion of its overall budget towards defense and has been steadily building up its military capabilities for more than two decades. This will continue unless there is an economic catastrophe.”
I recently discussed the issue of China’s growing defense budget and ways that the United States can meet China’s military challenges in an article I wrote for Aviation Week. You can read that article here.