If China conquers Taiwan, it would be huge blow to US national security, economy, and prestige. The country has always had a “special relationship” with the U.S.
But the Pentagon is betting that China’s growing military muscle is a good thing for the U.S.
In a speech in San Francisco on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Chinese military spending, including on missile submarines and new aircraft carriers, had made the “long-term viability” of the U.S. defense budget “unequivocally” questionable.
“You would be astounded at how quickly China changes over time. And as our military spending gets larger, China’s military spending grows as well. That’s a big change,” Hagel said. “I don’t want to minimize the challenge to the future of the United States. But we are very well equipped militarily to take care of our friends and neighbors.”
China’s defense spending in 2015 increased 18.8 percent over the year before. The $100 billion the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spends annually on military spending is up from $88.5 billion in 2010. China’s defense budget grew 8.7 percent last year alone. As The Diplomat reported in June, U.S. defense spending as a percentage of GDP is expected to grow to $590 billion this year, up from $520 billion in 2015.
China’s spending on its own military has increased. The Chinese military will spend more than $100 billion this year, nearly half of which will be on arms purchases. The Chinese Defense Ministry said that arms purchases were likely to exceed $60 billion.
According to Hagel, this is a “very serious” change in military spending that has serious implications for the U.S. defense budget.
However, analysts disagree with Hagel’s assessment that spending on the Chinese military is an indication of China’s power. One example is the fact that the Chinese