CHINA has increased its military spending more than any other country and spent millions more on highly sophisticated missiles and aircraft as it looks to rival the US for global dominance.
President Xi Jinping has unveiled a colossal weapons arsenal as Beijing celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It was reported that 15,000 soldiers marched while the The Ministry of National Defence claimed that 59 different elements of the armed forces were present, on top of the 580 pieces of military equipment rolling through the streets and 160 aircraft flying overhead. The most threatening and anticipated weapon to be unveiled was the latest road-mobile DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile.
It forms the backbone of China’s nuclear deterrence, which can carry several nuclear warheads and reach as far as the US in just 30 minutes according to reports.
Xi lauded China’s military and asserted that nobody will stop Beijing from achieving its global and political goals.
In what could be seen as a statement of intent to potential rivals, he said: “The military should resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, and firmly uphold world peace.
“No force can ever shake the status of China, or stop the Chinese people and nation from marching forward.”
The defiant speech was received by a handpicked crowd at Tiananmen Square as the President addressed the nation via state television.
With Xi Jinping in a determined mood, Beijing appear hellbent on bridging the military gap between themselves and Washington.
According to Statista, China’s surge in spending on weapons development coincided with the US’ costly conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
During that timeframe, China upped its expenditure by 83 percent and the results of that could be seen on the streets of Beijing during the parade.
Even though no country comes close to matching US military expenditure which came to £529billion last year (China was second with £200billion), Beijing had the highest increase of any country by far between 2009 and 2018, according to Sipri.
Saudi Arabia, who may now be compelled to up the ante after the Saudi oil attacks, increased its military spending by just 28 percent during the same period.
Russia is also in the midst of a modernisation drive and its spending increased 29 percent since 2009.
Putin’s S-400 missiles are causing Trump and the US a lot of grief, with Turkey being recent acquirers of the weapon, provoking security concerns for the other NATO allies.
Meanwhile, US military spending has fallen 17 percent over the past decade, a downward trend President Trump may need to reverse if he is to challenge China for global influence.