There is no clear way to determine how much Chinese strategy shapes military spending versus how Chinese resources shape strategy; the two are always interdependent. An assessment of China’s defense spending does indicate, however, that Chinese economic growth has allowed it to finance a massive modernization program, and radically improve every aspect of its conventional and asymmetric warfare capabilities, including sea-air-missile-nuclear capabilities.
Although estimates of Chinese defense spending vary sharply, there is little controversy that China now dominates Asian military spending and is becoming the premier military power in Asia. This is partly driven by China’s perception of the potential threat from the U.S. and other Asian powers, but is also driven by the fact that China can now afford such efforts, support them largely with its own technology base, and cannot forget its recent past.
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