Rising red tide: China’s navy, air force rapidly expanding its size and reach

Away from the Chinese military’s expanding capabilities in cyberspace and electronic warfare, Beijing is growing the size and reach of its naval fleet, advancing its air force and testing a host of new missiles, the Pentagon said Thursday.

An annual report to Congress on China’s evolving military capability concluded that the modernization was being driven in part by growing territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, as well as by Beijing’s desire to expand its presence and influence abroad.

“Despite positive public statements about cross-Strait dynamics from top leaders in China following the re-election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in 2012, there have been no signs that China’s military disposition opposite Taiwan has changed significantly,” the Pentagon report said. “The [People’s Liberation Army] has continued to develop and deploy military capabilities to coerce Taiwan or to attempt an invasion, if necessary.”

The report’s release Thursday coincided with a visit to The Washington Times by Taiwanese diplomats, who said they want to renew their request to obtain some of the Pentagon’s coveted F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or, perhaps, its F-22 Raptor fighter jets.

China’s government in March announced a 12.2 percent increase in military spending to $132 billion. That followed last year’s 10.7 percent increase to $114 billion, giving China the second-highest defense budget for any nation behind the U.S., which spent $600.4 billion on its military last year.

Full article: Rising red tide: China’s navy, air force rapidly expanding its size and reach (Washington Times)

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