China’s President Increases Spending
President Xi Jinping gave a strong signal that Beijing is not about to back away from its growing assertiveness in Asia, especially in disputed waters as China announces its biggest rise in military spending in three years. The government has stated that it would increase the defense budget by 12.2 percent this year to 808.23 billion yuan as China seeks to develop more of their high tech weapons and to beef up coastal and air defenses. This increase follows a nearly unbroken run of double digit hikes in the Chinese defense budget.
Rory Medcalf, a regional security analyst at the independent Lowy Institute in Sydney stated that “this is worrying news for China’s neighbors, particularly for Japan.” Many “underestimated the Chinese determination to shape its strategic environment,” as they thought that Xi might perfer to focus on the domestic development rather than the military expansion in the slowing economy.
The increase in the spending reflects Xi’s desire to build what he calls to be a strong rejuvenated China. Xi has also urged China’s military leadership to work faster to get the country’s sole aircraft carrier combat ready. The spending is the biggest since a 12.7 percent rise in 2011. After hours of Xi making the announcement, the officials in Japan and Taiwan expressed their uneasiness over the absence of any details on how Beijing will spend the money.
China has repeatedly said that the world has nothing to fear from its military spending which it says is needed for legitimate defensive purposes and to modernize outdated equipment. A spokeswoman for the parliamentary session, Fu Ying said that China was seeking peace through “strength.” She added that China would “respond effectively” to provocations by those ready to sabotage regional security and order