China’s military spending exceeded $145 billion last year as it advanced a program modernizing an arsenal of drones, warships, jets, missiles and cyber weapons, the Pentagon said on Thursday, offering a far higher figure than Beijing’s official tally. The Pentagon’s estimate, using 2013 prices and exchange rates, was 21 per cent above the $119.5 billion figure announced by China.
Year after year the United States issues this so-called report on ‘Military and Security Developments in China,’ making preposterous criticisms of China’s normal defence and military building, exaggerating the ‘China military threat’, which is totally wrong.
—statement from China’s Defense Ministry
The report came just days after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, using unusually strong language, accused Beijing of destabilizing the region in pursuit of territorial claims. The 96-page report also said China was placing emphasis on preparing for potential contingencies in the South and East China Seas, noting an October drill in the Philippine Sea. The drill, the Pentagon said, was the largest Chinese Navy open-ocean exercise seen to date.
China’s military investments provide it with a growing ability to project power at increasingly longer ranges.