China will “only” increase its military spending by 7.5% in 2010, to 532 billion yuan; the force is already the world’s largest with some 3,000,000 members.
China has been increasing its military budget by over 10% each year for the past two decades or more, but many suspect it has been concealing the true magnitude of its military expenditures amidst its notoriously opaque public spending, and are similarly sceptical about this year’s supposed reduction in increases.
China claims its purpose in this huge armaments program is purely self-defence:
“The only purpose of China’s limited military strength is to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
China insists its territory includes land currently administered by several neighbouring nations, and historically has felt free to impose its sovereignty on non-Chinese peoples in a vast empire, intact to this day:
Hawks within the PLA advocate building a huge military force with which to challenge the west, the so-called “China Dream.” Even moderates advocate the invasion of Taiwan, which is already the target of thousands of missiles.
One Chinese foreign policy think-tank was last year lambasted for suggesting Chinese policy should encourage the forcible break-up of India, and Chinese submarines have repeatedly infiltrated Japanese territorial waters – many understandably wonder if its rise will be as peaceful as it claims.