Why China Needs to Modernize Her Armed Forces
By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent – SEOUL TIMES – SOUTH KOREA
|People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in China|
If we look at the geopolitics of China, then it is clear that they overlap in many parts of Asia. For example Central Asia, Northeast Asia, South Asia, Eurasia, the Mekong delta, and South China Sea region. This vast area is very diverse and China faces multiple challenges with regards to expanding her influence and defending any weak area within her geopolitical space. Her main challenge may appear to be Taiwan but this issue is contained within a small geographic region; therefore, her relationship with America is of major concern.
If we look at trade investments between America and China, then just like China and Taiwan, we see enormous economic linkages and mutual ties and respect. However, in the field of hegemony then China worries about certain aspects of America`s foreign policy. After all, the USA have her military based in Japan and South Korea respectively, and they are developing Guam in order to increase their leverages. Also, the USA have bases in other parts of Asia and her relationship with Australia is another added dimension which helps America.
Therefore, China is concerned about this American reality and they also fear a possible nationalist Japan in the future and tensions with India also remain, because Chinese-Indian relations are still fragile despite all the smiles. So China is right to worry about vast areas of her geopolitical space and this nation also fears radical Islam in West China and Tibetan nationalism is also problematic. This reality is pushing China to move closer to the Russian Federation and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In recent times this can be seen via the growing importance of the Shanghai-6 political bloc and China`s recent military modernization was enhanced by military purchases bought from the Russian Federation.
Also, if we focus on military spending then it is clear that America spends around 90% more than China. This merely proves the point within the inner circle in China because it is clear that China is merely protecting her national interests and they are no different from any other regional power. Given this, China`s political and military leaders need to modernize her armed forces in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Therefore, surely China is right to increase her military budget given her geopolitical reality?