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China Lies About Its Military Spend – But it is Going Up!

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The revelation of China’s military spending for 2024—a seemingly benign 7.2% increase to 1.67 trillion yuan—reflects an expectation of gullibility by the Chinese Communist Party. This official figure, steadfastly presented by the Ministry of Finance against a backdrop of China’s assertive postures towards Taiwan and its anti-corruption purges within the military ranks, is but the tip of an iceberg in the murky waters of international defense economics. The narrative, as it unfolds, reveals a chasm between what China declares and what U.S. analysts, armed with intelligence reports and independent research, believe to be the true scale of its military ambitions—a discrepancy that casts a long shadow over global peace and stability.

Senator Dan Sullivan’s declaration, echoing the assessments of U.S. intelligence agencies and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), starkly contrasts the official Chinese narrative. “China spends about $700 billion annually,” Sullivan stated, juxtaposing this figure against China’s reported budget of less than $300 billion. This staggering difference not only raises eyebrows but also alarms, suggesting that China’s military expenditure could be nearing parity with that of the United States, the world’s preeminent military power with a budget just over $800 billion.

The implications of such parity are profound and unsettling. The U.S., with its defense mechanisms and expenditures laid bare for public scrutiny, stands in stark contrast to China’s veiled financial maneuvers. This opacity not only fuels speculation but also engenders a palpable sense of unease regarding the true extent of China’s military capabilities and its strategic intentions. The disparity in spending reports underscores a potential strategic deception by China, aimed at quietly amassing a military might that could challenge the global dominance of the United States and alter the international security landscape irrevocably.

The call for transparency in China’s military spending, therefore, transcends mere fiscal accountability. It speaks to a growing demand for clarity on the part of the international community, which views the specter of an unchecked and opaque military buildup as a direct threat to global peace. The bipartisan push in the U.S. Senate for the China Defense Spending Transparency Act, seeking a comprehensive report from the Defense Intelligence Agency, is a testament to the urgency of this issue. This legislative effort, aimed at unveiling the “true extent of China’s defense-industrial build-up,” is not just a matter of policy but a clarion call for safeguarding international stability.

Good luck with that. The sanctions required to force the revelation would have to be substantial, and who is to say they would tell the truth even after that.

Yet, despite these calls for openness, the obfuscation of military spending and the strategic positioning continue. China’s budget, ostensibly focused more on hardware than on the personnel costs that significantly burden the U.S. defense budget, suggests a calculated emphasis on maximizing its return on investment. This approach, coupled with the potential underreporting of expenditures on research, development, and foreign weapons purchases, paints a picture of a nation steadfastly marching towards a military parity with the U.S., cloaked in the shadows of fiscal ambiguity.

But the declaration of a 7.2% increase in military spending does send a message, even if it does not reflect budget realities. China is telling the world that while the numbers are still a national secret, they will admit that military spending is going up.

Message received.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-defense-spending-senate-bill-angus-king-dan-sullivan-u-s-beijing-military-c3b64ba

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