Beijing: By 2050, China President Xi Jinping plans to create a military force of “world-class” proportions that will be able to compete with the US military.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA), thanks to significant funding increases, has been quickly stepping up its defence capabilities in line with the ambitious goal.
China is poised to increase its military spending to over $225 billion this year, a 7.2 percent gain compared to 2022 and the quickest rate of increase since 2019, amid escalating tensions with the US and its neighbours over Taiwan, the disputed South China Sea and dominance of the Indo-Pacific area.
In addition to modernising its almost 2 million active military personnel, Beijing has been busy acquiring a host of new equipment, including aircraft carriers, submarines, and stealth fighters.
Expenditure on the PLA has climbed by at least 6.6 percent annually over the previous three decades. It is well known that Beijing significantly overspends on its armed forces compared to the reported amounts.
In contrast to the United States, which has budgeted more than $800 billion for its military this year, China still spends a pittance on defence.
China has made significant investments in the creation of cutting-edge technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence. These innovations can be used in military operations, giving China a competitive advantage.
China has been developing new aircraft carriers, submarines, and other cutting-edge military vessels at a rapid rate, therefore strengthening its naval capabilities. China has been able to further project its dominance into the Indo-Pacific and other areas as a result.
Chinese military facilities are being constructed in key regions of the world, such as the South China Sea, Africa, and the Middle East. These bases can be used to project military might as well as for logistics and support.
Overall, many nations, especially those in the Indo-Pacific area where China’s neighbours are located, are gravely concerned about the country’s expansion of its military capabilities. Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be its territory, is already on high alert due to China’s military’s ongoing expansion.