Why China needs to modernize her armed forces

11 Dec

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
The nation of China continues to increase her military build up and sometimes you get negative press about this reality. However, from a neutral perspective or Chinese perspective, then this military build up is merely natural and no different from other major powers. After all, China shares a shared space with many nations and her geopolitical reality means that several strategic measures must be taken. Therefore, should major powers worry about China or is it merely mind games or scare mongering by certain nations?
If we look at the region of Northeast Asia then it is more than apparent that this region is very diverse and varied. This applies to geography, economics, politics, religion, ethnicity, and many other factors. Added to this diverse reality is the nuclear dimension and the fact that many major global military powers are based in this region. From this point of view it is abundantly clear that tensions will exist within the complex region of Northeast Asia.
The nuclear dimension alone is more than problematic because America, China, the Russian Federation, and North Korea, are all nuclear powers and of course Japan is a nuclear power de facto because of her protection by the USA and because of past policies, whereby they allowed America to use nuclear submarines within the waters of Japan. Also, on the horizon and within the geopolitics of China, you have India and Pakistan. Given this, the nuclear dimension is extremely complex and this factor increases the importance of Northeast Asia.

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?


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