US Accuses China of Military Expansion Despite High US Defense Spending

Tensions escalate as US accuses China of military buildup, raising fears of conflict over Taiwan and the South China Sea. US boosts aid to allies, but China vows to defend its "core interests."

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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US Accuses China of Military Expansion Despite High US Defense Spending

US Accuses China of Military Expansion Despite High US Defense Spending

The United States has accused China of significantly increasing its military budget and capabilities, despite China publicly announcing a 7.2% increase in defense spending for 2024. According to outgoing US Indo-Pacific Command head Admiral John Aquilino, China is allocating more on defense as tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea continue. Aquilino pointed to China's increasingly aggressive rhetoric and actions in the Indo-Pacific as evidence of this military growth.

Since 2021, China has reportedly added over 400 fighter aircraft and 20 major warships to its inventory, and has doubled the number of its ballistic and cruise missiles. Aquilino stated that these actions could be in line with President Xi Jinping's directive for the People's Liberation Army to be prepared to invade Taiwan by 2027. US House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers said China's ability to rapidly develop and field modern military systems reflects its unparalleled level of defense spending.

Why this matters: The escalating tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan and the South China Sea have significant implications for regional stability and global security. The accusations of China's military expansion, despite the US maintaining high military spending, highlight the complex geopolitical dynamics and the potential for further escalation in the Indo-Pacific region.

One of China's top military leaders, Zhang Youxia, the vice chairman of the ruling Communist Party's Central Military Commission, took a harsh stance on regional territorial disputes at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in Qingdao, China. He stated that China's territorial sovereignty "brooks no infringement" and its "core interests cannot be challenged." Zhang warned that the Chinese military will "resolutely defend the reunification and interest of the motherland," particularly in regards to Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

The US has signed into law a $95 billion aid package that includes $8.1 billion for Indo-Pacific security, $2 billion in foreign military financing for Taiwan and other allies, and $1.9 billion to replenish defense articles provided to Taiwan and regional partners. Taiwan's government has expressed appreciation for the US Congress' commitment to Taiwan's security and maintaining peace in the Indo-Pacific area.

Key Takeaways

  • US accuses China of significantly increasing military budget and capabilities.
  • China reportedly added 400+ fighter jets and 20 warships since 2021.
  • China's military expansion may be aimed at invading Taiwan by 2027.
  • US provides $95B aid package for Indo-Pacific security, including $2B for Taiwan.
  • Tensions between US and China over Taiwan and South China Sea escalate.