From Townhall Magazine's EXCLUSIVE January feature, "China's Military: A New Foe?":
While China has not yet reached the point of standing toe-totoe with the United States on military matters, it should come as no real surprise that Beijing now has the world’s second largest defense budget behind that of Washington.
At the same time the U.S. defense establishment is tightening its belt a few notches—maybe more—China is lavishing yuan on the People's Liberation Army, increasing its budget by more than 10 percent annually over the last two decades.
Beijing now has one of the world’s fastest-growing peacetime defense budgets, despite the global economic downturn of the last few years and the slowing growth of China’s often white-hot economy.
Defense spending is clearly a priority for Beijing.
But of course, defense budget numbers only tell you so much. They do not necessarily give a full picture of the real growth in military muscle that the PLA has been
packing on as a result of its well-fed budgets.
Most notable may be the development of the PLA’s power projection forces, those elements of the military such as a navy, an air force or ballistic missile force, which allow a state to extend its influence far beyond its borders.
Read more of Peter Brookes' analysis in the January issue of Townhall Magazine, including:
--China's multi-pronged strategy, which includes space superiority and cyber space
-- concerns on the nuclear weapons front
-- what China's end game might be