The Moscow-Beijing Axis — Su-35 Purchase Raises Questions About China’s Defense Spending, Threat to Taiwan

The Chinese government announced prior to last month’s National People’s Congress that PRC defense spending would increase another 11.2 per cent in 2012 to 670 billion yuan (U.S. $106 billion).

This is a “minuscule” fraction of the nation’s economy, some diplomats and intelligence officers said.

“If you believe these official defense spending numbers, then you accept that the PRC are spending only about 1.4 per cent of their GNP on defense, which is just not at all realistic,” one diplomat said.

These and other programs—part of an overall initiative to modernise the PLA and bring it into the digital era—are collectively well beyond what the “official” funding levels would support, said NATO diplomats based in the Chinese capital.

Beijing follows the same practices as the Soviet Union, hiding its true defence expenditures within the budgets of non-defence ministries, or within scientific programs such as the military-controlled PRC space program, these diplomats say.

It is no longer valid to assume that Taiwanese and U.S. forces could repel an attack of the island by the PLA, several experts have suggested.

Virginia Congressman J. Randy Forbes of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee (HASC) questioned USAF Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz in late February about the 2009 RAND report “A Question of Balance: Political Context and Military Aspects of the China-Taiwan Dispute.”

The study concludes that the USAF and USN would no longer dominate the PLA in any conceivable Taiwan Straits scenario, reversing the think tank’s decades-long position on probable outcomes of such a conflict.

The PLAAF would emerge victorious regardless of whether the USAF were able to commit its force of Lockheed Martin F-22 fighters—and regardless of whether strikes could be launched from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa—according to RAND’s mathematical modeling and analysis.

Even plugging two US Navy carrier battle groups into the equation would not roll back the Chinese force.

Full article: The Moscow-Beijing Axis — Su-35 Purchase Raises Questions About China’s Defense Spending, Threat to Taiwan (Washington Free Beacon)