China’s latest budget sees its “restrained” military spending ballooning 12.7%, amidst reports that its actual spending is far higher than official figures.
In 2010 China was keen to emphasise its military budget would “only” be boosted 7.5%, and even with the 12.7% increase just announced for 2011, Chinese officials protest that spending is “restrained” and non-threatening:
“China’s defence spending is relatively low by world standards [...] China has always paid attention to restraining defence spending.”
In other news, Japanese F-15s were recently scrambled to intercept Chinese fighters which approached within 55km of Japanese territorial waters near Okinawa, the closest yet, amidst increasing Japanese alarm at continuing favourable Chinese newspaper coverage of a proposed “Chinese Okinawa Autonomous Region.”
Chinese army hawks and revisionist historians are said to consider Okinawa to more properly belong to China, based on its pre-Japanese history as independent kingdom which paid tribute to the Chinese emperor.
However, the same logic would give China imperial claim to Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, and large swathes of Russia and various other Asian neighbours, all of which have at some point paid tribute to China or incorporate areas once claimed by China.
The Philippines also recently issued a diplomatic protest to China after its ships were subject to threatening Chinese naval activity in the South China Sea (most of which China claims).
Even Japanese talk of scrapping the billions of dollars in “overseas development aid” it gives to China annually has been met with hostile headlines warning of “consequences” if the money stops, despite the obvious absurdity of the world’s third largest economy making aid payments to the world’s second largest economy.