Asian military spending rises, China leading arms race

Featured - October 16th, 2012

Military spending in Asia have increased at a higher than predicted rate over the past decade, marching past Europe led by a secretive China, a study released Monday shows.

AFP reports that major powers in Asia –  China, Japan, India, South Korea and Taiwan – doubled their defense budgets over a span of ten years amounting to $224 billion in 2011, according to a study conducted by Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. “With Asian defense spending projected to overtake that of Europe by the end of 2012,” the study read.

Asia’s defense budget is small compared to the military superpower US’ expenditures – the Pentagon spends more than $600 billion a year. Still, China is following close behind. According to government figures cited by the CSIS report, China’s total military budget rose from $22.5 billion in 2000 to $89.9 billion in 2011, and outpacing Japan’s as the largest in Asia with a 13.4% annual rise in 2005.

China is seeking to assert its political and military clout beyond its borders to secure sea lanes and resources as it emerges as a global economic giant, analysts said. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates China’s 2011 defense budget at $142.2 billion.

Japan’s defense budget rose from $40 billion to $58.2 billion between 2000 and 2011. India’s military spending rose 47.6% to $37 billion. South Korea spends $29 billion from $17 billion while Taiwan’s military expenditure climbed to $10 billion from $8 billion.

Japan spends most on each soldier at $238,000 while the other countries allot $28,000 to $44,000, mainly because Japan’s forces are relatively smaller than the others, the report said.