Xi Jinping realizes the dream of strengthening the military. The Chinese government has allocated 1.45 trillion yuan (about 230 billion U.S. dollars) in military spending this year, an annual increase of 7.1%, higher than the 5.5% annual growth rate of economic growth.
Analysts pointed out that more than 40% of the military budget will be used for the PLA’s new equipment expenditures, including the construction of a third aircraft carrier, increasing nuclear warheads, etc., with a view to making the PLA a “world-class army” when it is established in 2027. The goal is to have the ability to prevent the US military from intervening once an attack on Taiwan is implemented.
Xi Jinping realizes the dream of strengthening the military
The Chinese government has set its GDP growth target for this year at 5.5%, far lower than the actual growth rate of 8.1% last year, but it has compiled a defence budget of 1.45 trillion yuan, an increase of 7.1% from last year and also since 2019. maximum increase. In recent years, the annual growth rate of China’s military expenditure is not only higher than the GDP growth target but also the rate of increase is expanding year by year.
China’s military spending increases year by year Xi Jinping: “Eight Persistence”
Regarding the planning of the PLA, when President Xi Jinping of the Communist Party of China attended the plenary meeting of the PLA and the Armed Police Force delegation at the National People’s Congress on March 7, he proposed the “eight insistences” on the strategy of governing the army according to the law and implementing the idea of strengthening the army in the new era, including “adhering to the Party’s “Absolute leadership of the army”, “adhere to combat effectiveness standards”, “adhere to building a military legal system with Chinese characteristics”, “adhere to changing the way the army is governed in accordance with the requirements of the rule of law”, “adhere to the iron law of strictly governing the army”, “adhere to grasping the key minority of leading cadres” and “adhering to the dominant position of officers and soldiers”, etc.
The military representatives of the two sessions also echoed, and will further promote the political building of the military, reform and strengthen the military, science and technology, talent and law, etc., and gather strength to train and prepare for war, build a world-class army, and firmly support the “two establishments”. “, that is, to establish Xi Jinping’s core position within the party and the guiding position of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
Xi Jinping pushes “strengthening military dream” to consolidate military power
Song Wendi, a lecturer at the Asia-Pacific College of the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, said in an interview with VOA that the year-on-year increase in the PLA’s military spending is undoubtedly a part of Xi Jinping’s expansion of power. He said that last year, the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued the third historical resolution of the centennial party history, establishing the syllogism of the history of the Communist Party of China, that is, from Mao Zedong’s “standing up”, Deng Xiaoping’s “getting rich” to Xi Jinping’s “getting strong” “, Xi Jinping’s “dream of a strong country” and “dream of a strong army” are interdependent.
Song Wendi said: “This year is the year of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. At the level of the Central Committee, nearly 20% of the seats are for the CCP’s military. Moving toward a third-term leader, his military spending has increased more than in previous years, and it is conceivable that internally, there are political considerations to strengthen his support in the military.”
In addition to consolidating military power internally, externally, it has the effect of defending against the threat of China’s maritime expansion by the alliance of the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia (AUKUS). Song Wendi said that the United States and Britain assist Australia in purchasing nuclear-powered attack submarines and sharing intelligence to counter the PLA’s underwater expansion in the Indo-Pacific region, which is also one of the reasons for China’s increased defense budget.
Analyst: China’s military budget may be underestimated
China’s defense budget report has only figures and no details, so some analysts believe that Beijing may underreport military spending.
Another expert analyzed that the CCP’s budget this year is still focused on the development of new equipment, accounting for about 40% of the total military expenditure, including space, counterspace, electronic and network combat capabilities, naval projection capabilities, and new fighters, which will be built in 2027. When the army is a hundred years old, it has a world-class military force.
Observers said that the CCP’s strategic nuclear weapons’ strike capability and the rapid increase in nuclear warheads may change the global nuclear balance and impact the global geopolitical structure. Song Wendi of the Australian National University said that the CCP has recently focused on nuclear weapons and long-range military power projection, and its intentions are quite obvious.
Song Wendi said: “It can be seen from the situation in the past six months that the CCP’s original minimum nuclear deterrence policy now seems to have a tendency to loosen. This is probably also a part of the dream of strengthening the military, that is to say, in the past, The nuclear weapons of China are enough to build an army, and now it may be on nuclear weapons, and I hope that it will gradually develop in a relatively close direction with the nuclear weapons powers such as the United States and Russia.”
Expanding Navy and Air Force, Strengthening Nuclear Weapons, and Long-Range Projection
In addition to nuclear weapons, the PLA also aims to strengthen its navy. At this stage, the CCP’s aircraft carrier, in addition to the Liaoning purchased from Ukraine and the first domestically produced Shandong, is actively building the second domestically produced Type 003 aircraft carrier, which is expected to be commissioned in 2024. Carrier with catapult takeoff and electromagnetic catapult.
Shi Xiaowei, editor-in-chief of the Taipei-based Military Intelligence and Aviation website, analyzed that the CCP continues to modernize its equipment and aims to build a modern navy and air force in the Western Pacific. Shi Xiaowei said that in the past 20 years, the Chinese navy has evolved from a “green water navy” that can only navigate along the coast and surrounding high seas to a “blue water navy” capable of expeditionary operations that can expand its maritime power to oceans and deep seas. And even more to contend with the US Pacific Fleet.
Shi Xiaowei told VOA: “The People’s Liberation Army is basically a local defense-oriented army, which has transformed from the local defense in the past to both offense and defense. Now it is transforming from both offense and defense to where it needs to project its forces, and perform force projection. Therefore, you can see that the military construction of the Communist army has been more focused on the navy and air force in recent years.”
Does the communist army have the strength to block the first island chain?
According to the “2021 China Military Power Report” released by the US Department of Defense at the end of last year, the Chinese Air Force and Naval Air Force form the largest aviation force in the Indo-Pacific region, with a fleet of more than 2,800 aircraft, of which more than 800 are fourth-generation fighters, including J- 16. J-11, J-10, etc. have also begun to deploy the fifth-generation stealth fighter J-20.
The Chinese navy has the largest number of ships in the world, with a total of about 355 ships, excluding small frigates and patrol boats carrying anti-ship missiles. It is expected that by 2025, the number of Chinese naval ships will increase to 420, and by 2030, it will reach 460.
Ou Xifu, director of the Institute of Political-Military and Operational Concepts of the National Defense Security Institute in Taipei, pointed out that China has built a strong anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capability in the first island chain in the Western Pacific, which means that, Once a conflict breaks out in the surrounding area, the PLA can quickly delimit a restricted area in the incident area to prevent third-party armed interference.
Taking the conflict in the Taiwan Strait as an example, when the CCP launches military unification of Taiwan, it can simultaneously prevent the intervention of the U.S. military or assist in the defense of Taiwan. This is also a major short-term goal of the CCP’s military modernization process.
Ou Xifu told VOA: “A2/AD (intervention/area denial) includes the Taiwan Strait, the East China Sea, and the South (China) Sea. Except for the offshore waters, the (CCP’s) aircraft carrier has already run out of the Miyako Strait and the Bashi Strait, breaking through the island chain, Enter the Pacific Ocean. However, these straits are easily blocked by the United States and its allies. Taiwan can mainly control the waters in the northern part of Taiwan, as well as the Bashi Strait. It (China) wants to build a force that can break through the strait. blockade.”
Foreign expansion of the Communist Party of China is focused on the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea
In recent years, the CCP has greatly increased its military strength, expanded rapidly in the outer seas, and increased its activities in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, including the construction of artificial islands and reefs in the South China Sea, promoting militarization, and frequently dispatching fighter jets and warships to disturb Taiwan. It has also led to constant conflicts on the Sino-Indian border and tensions between the United States and China in the South China Sea.
Although the CCP’s military objectives are not limited to Taiwan, the threat to Taiwan from increased armament has expanded. In particular, the gap between the defense budgets between the two sides of the strait is constantly widening. Taiwan’s defense budget this year has reached a record high of NT$374 billion (about 13.1 billion US dollars), but it is still more than 17 times the size of the People’s Liberation Army.
Ou Xifu of the National Defense Security Research Institute said that Taiwan’s military budget is difficult to compare with China’s, and its military strength is also far behind. However, Taiwan can outsmart and use asymmetrical operations, such as imitating Ukraine’s use of stinger and javelin missiles to repel Russian military aircraft and tanks. Such asymmetrical operations are quite effective, that is, with a limited military budget, to achieve Unbearable damage to the enemy.
Ou Xifu said: “Of course, Taiwan is different from Ukraine. Ukraine is fighting by air and land. Our side is fighting by sea and air. We also need to increase the so-called anti-ship missiles, which can attack Chinese naval ships and fight against big, asymmetrical warfare, or Speaking of the “porcupine strategy,” Taiwan is small, but the porcupine has many thorns, which are difficult to digest, increasing the cost of it (the CCP) invading Taiwan.”
Song Wendi of the Australian National University said that the so-called “Porcupine Strategy” or “Hedgehog Strategy” is Taiwan’s long-standing defense concept, but in the next 20 years, if the CCP changes its military structure and strengthens its amphibious combat capabilities, the “non-essential” strategy that Taiwan will develop by then. Symmetrical warfare”, I am afraid it will not be able to effectively resist the attack of the PLA. Therefore, Song Wendi suggested that Taiwan should find a balance between symmetrical and asymmetrical operations.
Shi Xiaowei, a military expert, said that in terms of strategy, Taiwan should make use of its local characteristics to guerrilla or highly mobile troops. More importantly, China is already a big country of drones. In addition to its super endurance and anti-fall capabilities, drones can also effectively detect and collect information, and can also affect the enemy’s radar and data through jammers. It also has electronic warfare capabilities. Therefore, Taiwan should strengthen its combat against UAVs as soon as possible.