In the beginning of the year 2007, the Chinese government increased its expenditure on military and over 45 million dollars was invested. According to experts, Beijing has always understated its defence budget by even over 50%. The budget is estimated to have increased considerably as over the past two years, Beijing has conducted some anti-satellite tests.
This has raised concerns that the military growth of china could cause a threat in the area since it has not exposed much of its operations to the US foreign policy. The rapid growth of the Chinese economy and its increased and vigorous engagement in diplomatic issues within the region and the whole world at large is critical.
This is what brings about the discussion of the peaceful rise that china has undergone to achieve very powerful status in the world economy and democracy. Furthermore, the pentagon has noted that China could be the only hegemony on the basis that it can challenge the unipolar power of the US. The two perspectives of China as a very good global economic associate and a military superpower are challenged by the military budget.
Chinese Perspective of their Military
The Chinese indicate that the increasing military investment is just a sign of economic prosperity and should not be taken as a security threat in the region despite that fact that China has the capacity to manufacture ballistic weapons (Chen & Feffer, 2009, p. 48). Basically the Chinese authorities affirm that the increased military expenditure and increased recruitment and training are only intended for the better and not for threatening the world.
They site issues like better payments for their troops and so on. Critics, nonetheless critics dispute this with an argument that China immeasurably underreports what it spends in military (Chen & Feffer, 2009, p. 53). Furthermore the nation does not disclose why it has been acquiring innovative power-projections capacities that could transform the regional power balance.
Determining which of the claims is actually correct is not an easy job. In the recent past, China has published reports of its yearly expenditure in defence budgets and offered justifications for the noted increased military allocation as part of its attempt to reduce the fears the rest of the world is having concerning its rise to dominance (Chen & Feffer, 2009, p. 53).
However since these reports have figures that do not match what is expected by outside observers, there are many questions that arise than what the Chinese have to offer as their answers to the concerns (Chen & Feffer, 2009, p. 53).
Why is it that there are so many discrepancies between military budget and other sectors? What are the ultimate Chinese Geopolitical objectives and the reasons behind defence strategy? (Shambaugh, 1994, p. 43). How are other countries in the regions reacting to these investments? And basically what is the implication of the doubtfulness of Chinese military on the country’s national objectives? (Roy, 1996, p. 159)
Despite the attempts by China to justify and defend its spending on military as being a peaceful doctrine, other nations including the US are still sceptical about the figures that are reported (Goh, 2008, p. 114). The defence Department in the US has been presenting its own reports regarding the capability of China’s military as well as the monetary expenditure.
Recent report indicated that the Chinese spent over $105 – $150 billion. The problems with these figures are the China’s accountability (Chen & Feffer, 2009, p. 53). The Chinese report indicated only $ 61 billion in 2008 as opposed to the US findings hence presenting the Chinese expenditure as a contentious issue.
China Not a Real Threat
Essentially is very important to note that there is a very big different between having the capacity to carry out a plan and the actual intent to do it. There are some authorities who believe that China is just seeking to live peacefully with its neighbours and the whole world at large (Goh, 2008, p. 114).
Tension has often crept between China and its neighbour and even the US due to increased ventures. The notable one has been a dispute between China and the US over the importation of textile. The Chinese are required to do a better job rather than use unethical means (Zheng, 2005, p. 18). Optimists in the US believe that dialogue is the best way to handle issue with the Chinese. Collaboration can bring about greater development as nations share technology and knowledge (Goh, 2008, p. 114).
The relationship between the US and China is more of complement as both nations have strategic plans for their safety and progress. It’s believed that if they worked in collaboration, they could even achieve greater goals (Zheng, 2005, p. 18). The only hitch has been that China has been very secretive.
Despite having tested anti-ballistic missiles and took a lot of time before admitting that the test actually happened (Hartfiel & Brian, 2004, p. 5). The most important step is to ensure that dialogue prevails as this is the only was that nations can probe solutions. China is an emerging economic superpower that is attracting most nations in business partnerships because it is not only a big nation with a lot of people bust it’s been very aggressive on the international economy (Hartfiel & Brian, 2004, p. 8).
It offers ready market, cheap labour and a free investment opportunity in foreign trade investment. With a population that is increasing over 1.3 billion people, china is a nation to recon as its fast economic track and the subsequent military growth is expected since that nation has to sustain and protect the 1.3 billion people.
The former secretary of State, in the United States, Collin Powel indicated that the China’s military ventures were much less than those of pentagon hence not a big threat (Goh, 2008, p. 114). Instead, he urged the nations in the Asian continent to focus their effort on handling the many challenges that are always presents and the opportunities that keep coming and going for their own economic development (Hartfiel & Brian, 2004, p. 8).
There is a universal agreement among many authorities and specialists that the Chinese indeed does not pose a serious threat to the region. The economic prowess and the military growth as well as other capacities that China has, this is still too limited to be a serious danger now and even in the near future. Nonetheless, there are fears that in the long term, China could be the nation that can confront others in challenging sovereignty and hegemony concepts.
Basically, China is one of the few nations in the whole world that has been able to find an incredible mix of political, military, economic and manpower elements which can be very critical in building a new superpower. China can then be able to exercise hegemony over its neighbours and even on the United States of America. The emergence of China as an economic powerhouse has been accompanied by even more spending in its military.
This shows that military has a higher niche in the China’s budget. Though the expenditure has been unjustified by many nations in the regions the matter is still not a serious concern on the international security. Specialist are therefore required to carry out more studies to determine whether there is a possibility that China would embark on expansionist or real aggressive course of disrupting peace and stability in the region.
Chen, s & Feffer, J. 2009. China’s Military Spending: Soft Rise or Hard Threat? Asian Perspective, Vol. 33, No.4, pp 47 – 67.
Goh, E. 2008. “Great Powers and Hierarchical Order in Southeast Asia: Analyzing Regional Security Strategies,” international Security, Vol. 32, No. 322, No. 3 pp 113 – 157.
Hartfiel, R & Brian, L.J. 2004. “Rising the Risks of War: Defense Spending Trends and Competitive Arms Processes in East Asia,” Pacific Review. Vol. 20, No. 1, pp 1-22
Roy, D. 1996. “The ‘China Threat’ Issue: Major Arguments,” Asian Survey, Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 758-771
Shambaugh, D. 1994. “Growing strong: China’s challenge to Asian security,” Survival Vol. 36, Issue 2, pp 43 – 59.
Zheng, B. 2005. “China’s Peaceful Rise to Great Power Status,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 84, No. 5, pp 18 – 24.